Australian Council on Children and the Media

Dreamgirls

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (themes, sex references, drug references, lang.).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Dreamgirls
  • a review of Dreamgirls completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 January 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references, drug references and coarse language

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: Dreamgirls
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Infrequent coarse language, drug references
Length 130 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Set in the 1960’s, with a backdrop of racial tension, Dreamgirls tells the story of a rising female vocal group called the Dreamettes. The group consists of Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles), Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) and their powerful lead singer, Effie White (Jennifer Hudson). They are spotted at a talent quest by an ambitious scout Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx) who wants to trade in his used car salesman job for a position as their manager. He gets them signed up as backup singers to popular James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy) despite Effie’s protests at having to ‘do backup’.

Effie and Curtis become lovers but he eventually ditches her for Deena whom he places as lead singer because he sees her as more ‘marketable’. The group is renamed ‘Deena and the Dreams’.  Angry and pregnant with Curtis’s child, Effie leaves the group and is replaced by Michelle (Sharon Leal). Her life as a single parent becomes a struggle as she tries to revive her singing career. Curtis marries Deena and ruthlessly dominates and controls her career until she is able to break free from him.

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.

Racism, Interpersonal exploitation

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:

  • A boxing match is briefly shown with a man getting knocked out.
  • Footage of street riots with windows being smashed and cars set alight.
  • Effie and Deena fight verbally.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing particularly scary or disturbing in this movie.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing particularly scary or disturbing in this movie.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing particularly scary or disturbing in this movie.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing particularly scary or disturbing in this movie.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • James ‘Thunder’ Early, a married man, fondles Lorrell.
  • Effie has a child to Curtis but doesn’t tell him.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Lorrell and James are shown naked in bed kissing passionately.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Frequent drinking and smoking
  • James is shown about to inject heroin and he later dies as a result of a heroin overdose.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including

  • shit, Jesus; crap; bullshit; fuck; bitch

 

In a nutshell

Dreamgirls is a musical about the harsh world of pop music; the rise and fall of stars and the devastating toll that takes on them as individuals. It has a great musical score and will appeal to older adolescents.

The main message from this movie is that stardom is not as glamorous as it appears and that it can be quite a tough life.

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

  • the long-term effects of relationships such as Effie becoming a single mother and having to raise a child on her own.
  • the devastating effects of the use and betrayal of people.

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