Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fame

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fame
  • a review of Fame completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 September 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to adult themes
Children 13-14 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes
Children 15 and over 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: Fame
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Fame (2009) is a remake of the 1980 Oscar-winning film by the same name. Of the 10,000 young people who apply for the prestigious New York City Fame School for the Performing Arts, only 200 lucky applicants make it in each year.  Fame  follows those lucky 200 from the gruelling auditions right through to their impressive graduation performance, as their raw talent is tamed and nurtured.  Whilst the focus of the movie is on the immense creative talent and their impressive performances, the movie delves into the lives of a few of the successful.   Malik (Collins Pennie), the tough guy with acting aspirations and Denise (Naturi Naughton), a timid pianist with other creative desires, are forced to battle their parents’ firm expectations about their future.  Victor (Walter Perez), an original music producer who finds it hard to toe the line, asks his father to take a risk and finance him.  Kevin (Paul McGill), a country boy with dancing dreams is forced to face the limitations of his talents whilst Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle), a bubbly actress with huge potential is snapped up by a prime time television show before school has finished.  Jenny (Kay Panabaker), the self-conscious actress trying to find her place in the ruthless world of show business, falls for Marco (Asher Book), the singer with perfect pitch and “good boy” image, who is eager to help her succeed. 

From this vibrant group there will be some who see their dreams crash down around them and others who break through to make it to the big time and “learn how to fly”. 

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.

Suicide; alcohol abuse, sexual harassment

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:

  • Malik discusses how his little sister was killed in a drive-by shooting.
  • Jenny finds herself in a compromising position when an already successful actor asks her to his ‘trailer’ for a casting session.  The actor quickly takes advantage of the opportunity and begins to kiss her despite her protests.  He pushes her backwards onto the couch before Jenny stops him and walks out of the trailer.
  • There is a poem that is read out during the auditions that refers to death, gang violence and racism.  During one of the lines the actor puts his hand to his head in the shape of a gun and pretends to shoot.
  • Kevin almost throws himself in front of a train after receiving a confronting knock back, but is pulled back at the last minute.

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:

  • There is a Halloween party where all the characters are dressed up; there is drinking and loud music.  The party seems to be quite dark and at times could be scary for younger audiences.

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 may also be scared by the party scene.

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 be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned violent scenes

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.

Nothing of concern for this age group.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Pepsi
  • Dell Computers
  • Howard Pianos
  • DW Drums
  • Nine West
  • Freddy branded clothing
  • Baldwin Pianos

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Most of the dance sequences have some sexually provocative dance movements
  • Jenny asks Marco back to her house stating that her father is not due home until much later that night and smirks at him.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • There are many scenes of kissing including two young people kissing passionately in the lunch room, two young people kissing passionately at the Halloween party, the first kiss between Jenny and Marco and other scenes of kissing in background shots throughout the movie. 
  • Jenny finds herself in a compromising position when an already successful actor asks her to his ‘trailer’ for a casting session.  The actor quickly takes advantage of the opportunity and begins to kiss her despite her protests.  He pushes her backwards onto the couch before Jenny stops him and walks out of the trailer.

Use of substances

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

  • A number of scenes depict underage drinking including many of the people at the Halloween party drinking, many of the students drinking at another party where there are rounds of shots and other drinks consumed, and a few bar and nightclub scenes.
  • There is a scene where Joy is videotaped as she is seen to be “wasted” for the first time.  Joy drinks alcohol out of a bottle in a brown paper bag as she talks about not being sure whether she is drunk yet and stating that she has never been wasted before.  Shortly after this time she stands up and shouts “Yahoo” and vomits on the ground. 

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • bitch
  • ho
  • cock
  • shit
  • asshole
  • pissing

In a nutshell

Fame is a remake of the 1980 film of the same name. It is doubtful whether this version will hold the same iconic impact that the original held but it will be hard for fans of the old Fame excitement to not take this opportunity to escape down memory lane and enjoy the updated singing and dancing extravaganza.  Younger audiences seeing Fame for the first time are likely to be inspired by the aspirations and dreams of the successful performers and the singing and dancing performances are sure to entertain younger and older audiences alike. 

The main messages from this movie are the importance of determination, hard work, sacrifice and following your dreams.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include being true to yourself.

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

  • underage drinking
  • lying to your parents
  • the risk of compromising your beliefs and values to gain success

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