Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fault in our Stars, The

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Not recommended under 14, PG 14- 15 due to disturbing themes, coarse language and sex scene)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fault in our Stars, The
  • a review of Fault in our Stars, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 June 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not recommended due to disturbing themes, coarse language and sex scene
Children 14-15 Parental guidance recommended due to disturbing 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: Fault in our Stars, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and coarse language
Length 126 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Fault in Our Stars tells the unconventional love story of Hazel (Shalene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), two witty teenagers who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.  The two share a journey that takes them beyond their illness and allows them both to believe and experience their own “forever after”.  A chance opportunity arises for the couple to meet Hazel’s all-time favourite author, Van Houten (William Dafoe) the only person who has ever understood the journey of terminal cancer and who has lived and the two travel to Amsterdam to meet their hero.

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.

Terminal illness and death in children and adolescents

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:

  • Augustus encourages his best friend to feel his heart break when his girlfriend dumps him by getting him to throw and break his basketball trophies against a wall.
  • Hazel, Augustus and their friend throw eggs at a girl’s car.
  • One scene depicts a videogame where there is an army scene and the characters are seen shooting at each other with guns.
  • Brief footage of Nazi Germany is seen.

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 are likely to be scared by the violence described above.

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.

There are a number of scenes where children and adolescents are seen as extremely ill and dying.  These scenes are likely to be disturbing for kids of this age and beyond.

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 are likely to be disturbed by scenes involving children and teenagers sick and dying.

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 also be disturbed by scenes involving children and teenagers sick and dying

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Sunglass Hut
  • Honda
  • Converse shoes
  • Top Model television show
  • Apple computers and iphone
  • Phillips
  • American Airlines
  • Mercedes
  • BP

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Augustus talks of being a virgin

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Multiple scenes of adolescents kissing passionately, including one where a teenager grabs the breast of another while kissing
  • There is one scene where Hazel and Augustus have sex.  Augustus is seen naked from the waist and Hazel’s torso is also naked but seen from behind.

Use of substances

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

  • Augustus holds an unlit cigarette in his mouth as a metaphor for his fight against cancer.  He does not smoke it and talks about the negative implications of the cigarette.
  • Hazel and Gus share a bottle of champagne over dinner and in another scene at a picnic.  The couple are not seen as drunk.
  • A man is depicted as an alcoholic and is seen drinking scotch at inappropriate times- at breakfast, at a funeral.
  • Hazel refers to being a teenager and says that she should be “taking pot”

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • freakin’
  • fuck
  • shit
  • asshole
  • balls
  • goddamn
  • bitch
  • sucks
  • bullshit

In a nutshell

The Fault in our Stars is a very sad but inspiring love story based on popular young adult fiction. Because of its disturbing themes of terminal illness and death, it is not recommended for children under 14 and some 14 year olds may also find it disturbing, so parental guidance is recommended under 15. Parents of younger teens may also be concerned by the coarse language and a sex scene.

The main message from this movie is that we should seize the day and live life to the full despite obstacles.

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

  • determination
  • friendship and love
  • loyalty

 Parents may also wish to discuss;

  • The impact of grief and loss on families and relationships. 
  • How can a young person dying of cancer have fulfilment? 

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