Australian Council on Children and the Media

Creation

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8, PG to 14 (Scary scenes; Disturbing themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Creation
  • a review of Creation completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 July 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to scary scenes
Children aged 8-14 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and disturbing themes
Children over the age of 14 OK for this age group

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: Creation
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Creation tells the story of a sickly Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) both as a loving father very closely involved in his family’s life, and as the talented naturalist who developed the world-changing theory of natural selection. It shows how his private life influenced and conflicted with his life’s work.

Charles Darwin and his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) struggle to deal with the grief and guilt from the death of their second child Annie (Martha West). Annie was her father’s favourite and keenly interested in his work. Since her death Darwin has been haunted by his daughter’s memory and has imagined conversations with her. 

Darwin’s grief and wavering religious faith play a crucial role in his problems with finishing his book ‘The Origin of Species’. He is prevented from writing by his concerns about contradicting his wife’s religious beliefs and about the controversial nature of his theory.

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.

Death of a child; Grief and loss; Children as victims; Cruelty to animals; Loss of religious faith

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 violence in this movie including:

  • Scared children are swapped for buttons and taken away, kicking and screaming, by soldiers.
  • Savage looking men with spears stalk an orang-utan. They throw a net over the orang-utan, put her in a cage and take her away on a boat.
  • A fox pounces on a rabbit and rips at its neck. The rabbit cries out. This scene upsets a child who cries and pleads with her father to stop the fox from killing the rabbit.
  • A man lifts a bird from a cage and breaks its neck.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Some intense arguments between Darwin and his wife
  • A naked dead boy is wheeled away on a bed in a hospital
  • Bird skeletons with red raw flesh are lifted from a steaming pot with their feet tied together (still recognisable as birds)
  • Dead birds hang from the roof in a shed
  • Darwin pulls apart a cocoon revealing its sticky insides crawling with bugs
  • A small bird falls from its nest in a tree onto the ground and dies. The dead bird is then eaten by slugs and bugs.
  • A rotting animal skull crawling with maggots lies in the grass. Birds eat the maggots.
  • Foetuses and creatures are seen in formaldehyde in jars. In a dream scene, one of the bottled foetuses starts wriggling and screaming.
  • Scenes of Annie undergoing treatment for her illness (including being deluged with water and wrapped like a mummy) and of her death.

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

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.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes described above, particularly those involving children and family arguments.

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.

Younger children in this age group may be disturbed by theme of the death of a child and its effects on the family.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • reference to sperm and ovum during the opening credits

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • men appearing naked except for loin cloths
  • children remove their clothes and run away naked when pursued by soldiers
  • a backview of Darwin naked in an outdoor shower
  • Darwin and his wife are shown in bed together

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Creation is an at times sombre and gloomy, yet moving, drama. Scary scenes make it unsuitable for children under eight, while the film’s themes and sometimes confusing flashbacks and scenes of conversations between Darwin and his dead daughter make it more suited to an adolescent and adult audience.

The main message from this movie is the importance of family.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • coping with death in the family
  • religious faith and belief in God
  • evolutionary theory

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