Australian Council on Children and the Media

Christmas with the Kranks

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Short takes

Parental guidance for pre-schoolers (Viol.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Christmas with the Kranks
  • a review of Christmas with the Kranks completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 December 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the low level of comedic violence, parental guidance might be needed for younger children.
Children over the age of 8 Should be okay to view this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Christmas with the Kranks
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Luther and Nora Krank tearfully farewell their daughter Blair who has joined the Peace Corps and will be away for Christmas. The thought of having Christmas without her is so depressing that Luther decides to skip Christmas, save the $6000 he normally spends and go away on a Caribbean cruise instead. He has to persuade his wife not to put up a Christmas tree, send any cards or have any parties. Nora reluctantly agrees but the neighbours get very upset when the Kranks don’t decorate their house with lights or put Frosty the Snowman up on the roof. Bad feelings are further fuelled when Luther refuses to acknowledge the Carol Singers or give to the annual Police Charity.

Then they get a phone call from Blair saying she will be home for Christmas after all and is bringing her new boyfriend/fiancé Enrique. This sends Nora into a flat panic and Christmas in now fully back on the agenda with some funny results.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

None of concern.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some comic violence in this movie:

  • One of the neighbours is electrocuted putting up decorations, although he is not seriously hurt
  • Luther hates the neighbour’s cat and kicks it and steps on it. (not viciously)
  • Carol singers all slip on ice
  • The cat becomes frozen stiff
  • Luther chases a boy, knocks him over and he goes flying
  • Nora has a trolley fight with another shopper
  • Luther falls off the roof but is saved by being caught in a rope; he jokingly says it was a suicide attempt
  • A neighbour gets an electric shock while plugging in a Christmas tree
  • A policeman chases a thief, slips on icy steps and knocks himself out
  • The thief’s head is pushed into a car window
  • Father Christmas knocks the thief out

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group might be scared by the above mentioned scenes; however they are mostly done in a comic context.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Some younger children in this age group might be scared by the above mentioned scenes; however they are mostly done in a comic context.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

It is unlikely that children in this age group will be scared or disturbed by any material in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that children in this age group will be scared or disturbed by any material in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

Nora complains that she only has sex once a week on a Saturday night.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity but Nora Krank appears in a very brief bikini.

Use of substances

There is drinking of alcohol—at home, in a hotel, at a party.

Coarse language

None of concern.

In a nutshell

The message of this movie is that Christmas is about family and friends.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • community spirit
  • kindness
  • generosity

Parents could take the opportunity to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are in respect of:

  • Christmas being a highly commercialised business
  • the true meaning of Christmas
  • community pressure to conform

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