Australian Council on Children and the Media

Easy A

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Not suitable under 13, Not recommended 13-15 (themes, sexual references, coarse language and drug references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Easy A
  • a review of Easy A completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 September 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references, coarse language and drug references
Children aged 13-15 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references, coarse language and drug references

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: Easy A
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Frequent sexual references
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

High school student Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) believes herself to be average and un-noticed by her peers. Olive’s best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) invites Olive to go away for the weekend but Olive refuses, preferring to stay at home and do nothing. At school, Rhiannon asks Olive about her weekend at home and Olive, feeling guilty about not going away with Rhiannon, makes up an elaborate story about losing her virginity ("V card") to a college boy. Olive’s story is overheard by the campus Christian do-gooder Marianne (Amanda Bynes), who wastes no time spreading the gossip. Olive is promptly branded a “skank” with her life now echoing The Scarlet Letter, a book Olive is studying for English Literature.

Olive has good intensions of renouncing her lie, but before she can do so her classmate Brandon (Dan Byrd), who knows about the lie, convinces Olive to have fake sex with him at a party so that he can improve his social status at school. Brandon is being victimised because he is gay. Olive, feeling sorry for Brandon, agrees to the deception, and their pretence is so successful that Bandon is immediately skyrocketed to the status of Super Stud. The next day Olive is inundated with losers and misfits offering her gift cards and money vouchers for fake sex in order to improve their social status. Olive agrees to help them but the situation soon spirals out of control.

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.

Lying and deception; teenage sexual relationships; Christian morality

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.

Easy A contains some violence. Examples include:

  • A girl jokingly makes reference to slitting her throat.
  • Olive, while pretending to have sex with Brandon, slaps him across his face in order to motivate him. An in an attempt to simulate excited sexual play, Olive also slaps Brandon across the buttock with a telephone book, Brandon slaps Olive across the buttock, the pair jump around on a bed, hit the wall, and Olive punches Bandon in the stomach.
  • Marianne slaps Olive across the face. 
  • A girl says that she punched another girl in the left tit.
  • A teenage boy makes a sexual advance upon Olive, who repeatedly and forcefully pushes the boy away. The boy stops his advances after being pushed away several times leaving Olive distressed and upset.

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 eight, including the following:

  • A teenage boy walks out of the school’s principle’s office holding a tissue to his bloody nose (we see a small amount of blood).

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.

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.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • After learning that her boyfriend has been unfaithful and contracted an STD as a result, Marianne breaks down and bursts into tears. 
  • We see a gay teen distraught about the way he is treated at school by the other students as a result of his sexuality.

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.

No additional scenes.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

Easy A contains frequent sexual references and innuendoes throughout. However the references and innuendoes used are relevant and meaningful to the film’s plot and are not employed to be deliberately crude or offensive. Examples include:

  • Olive talks about losing her virginity to a college guy.
  • Olive infers that she has had sex with a boy by saying “We did it.”
  • We hear a teen girl referring to herself as a “Super Slut”
  • Reference made to a couple “humping” behind a shed.
  • In reference to Olive having sex a girl says, “You made your bed. I hope you cleaned your sheets”.
  • Olive makes reference to herself as a tramp saying that she should pierce something that’s not on her face..   
  • Olive refers to her “slutty alter ego” and calls herself “the new school slut” and a “Sex Monkey.”
  • Reference made to a teen girl getting “crabs”.
  • When Olive is asked by a gay boy to have sex with him, she says that she had a “V” (vagina) where there should be a “P” (penis). 
  • A girl says that she was allowed to have a pool party when ever she caught her parents “doing it in the pool”, which according to the girl was about once a week.
  • When asked “How was she” (reference to Bandon having sex with Olive) Brandon responded with “I’ll be walking funny tomorrow.”
  • Olive’s mother tells her that she dated a homosexual for a time. Olive’s father also tells her that he was gay for a while. Olive’s mother tells her that she was a slut when she was younger, that she slept with a whole bunch of people most of them boys and  that she was known as a contortionist when it came to bending her legs back while having sex.    
  • Olive is told “you throw your cat at anyone”.
  • Olive says that people think she is a dirty skank and that she would be the dirtiest skank ever. .
  • When a teen boy gets an STD his mother asks him “Who have you been screwing.”
  • In reference to the school counsellor sleeping with a male student, we hear Olive telling the counsellor, “You’re not supposed to sleep with them.” The counsellor tells Olive that she hasn’t slept with her husband in months. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Easy A contains some simulated sexual activity, some mild sensuality and brief partial nudity. Examples include:

  • We see Olive sitting on the grass with another girl and the girl’s parents. While both teen girls are fully dressed, the girl’s mother is topless and we see the sides of her naked breasts. The mother leans across Olive, squashing her breasts into Olive’s face. The girl’s father also begins to undress.   
  • In a flashback scene, eight-year-old Olive sits on a bed with eight-year-old Todd. Olive tells Todd “This is the part when you stick your tongue in my mouth.”
  • Throughout the film numerous boys ask Olive to pretend to have sex with them and offer her money and vouchers as payment for the service.
  • While pretending to have sex with Brandon, Olive takes off her knickers, which she later places in Brandon’s back pocket. Olive and Brandon imitate the sounds of a couple having sex, jump up and down on the bed, bang on the wall and hit each other across the buttocks with phone books.  
  • Brandon gives Olive a wrapped present with the inference being that the present is a vibrator. We do not see the vibrator but hear it making vibrating sounds while still wrapped.
  • Throughout the film we see Olive wearing a low cut top with a red letter A (for adulterer) sewn onto the top. At the end of the film Olive also wears shorts, tights and a suspender belt while performing a vocal number at a school assembly.
  • A young gay male puts his arms around another young gay male while lying on a bed
  • Olive kisses Todd on the lips   

Use of substances

Easy A depicts some substances use and references to drug use. Examples include:

  • Olive’s parents open a bottle of wine and drink wine from glasses.
  • Teens drink from large disposable cups at a pool party but no reference is made to what the cups contain and no intoxicated behaviour is depicted.
  • While at a pool party Olive pretends to be drunk
  • A teenage girl’s parents smoke from a bong and behave as if under the influence of cannabis.
  • The school’s principal tells Olive that if he kept the boys off the “pipe” he would receive a bonus.
  • A joking reference is made to a student being on crack.

Coarse language

Easy A contains frequent coarse language and put-downs throughout. Examples include:

  • Bitch (used repeatedly throughout the film); shit face; whore; skank; twat; arse; slut;; dick; tits; pissing me off; Jesus freak; crap;  shit dick; horn dog guy; trollope; god damn; screw all these people 

In a nutshell

Easy A is an outstanding comedy romance about relationships and morality. The film has a great cast and the dialogue is clever and witty without the need to rely on cheap and crude humour. While not suitable for younger teens, the film raises some important issues which may be discussed with older adolescents.

  • The main messages from this movie are:
  • While the intent may be honourable, telling white lies or making up stories can land you in big trouble.
  • Spreading unfounded rumours can result in psychological harm to the person whom the rumour is about.  

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Selflessness: While Olive accepted money for lying about engaging in sex with her peers, her main motivation for participating in the falsehood was that she felt sorry for the students who were being victimised by other students.
  • Friendship and loyalty: Todd displayed real friendship and loyalty towards Olive by refusing to believe the rumours circulating about her.

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

  • The boys asking Olive to lie about having sex with them were doing so as a result of being victimised, belittled and bullied at school. Parents may wish to discuss whether Olive and these boys could have come up with a more appropriate solution to their dilemma.

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