Australian Council on Children and the Media

Girl Asleep

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Not recommended under 12; parental guidance recommended 12 to 15, due to scary scenes, themes, sexual references and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Girl Asleep
  • a review of Girl Asleep completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 September 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to scary scenes, themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 12 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 15 and over OK for this 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: Girl Asleep
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and coarse language
Length 77 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is a quirky and whimsical coming-of-age film set in 1970’s suburban Australia. Greta (Bethany Whitmore) has moved into a new neighbourhood and is about to turn 15. Life is embarrassing enough for her anyway, but when her parents (Amber McMahon and Matthew Whittett) decide to throw her a birthday party she feels completely out of her depth. As the guests arrive, Greta becomes overwhelmed and is thrown into a dream sequence that takes us deep into her imagination.

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.

Growing up; fitting in at school; peer pressure; bullying; sexuality and sexual consent

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 physical and verbal violence in this movie including:

  • There is a scene where Greta must fight the school bullies. This involves punching, kicking and damage to property.
  • The school bullies make a tape for Greta’s birthday party, with an abusive song about her, which they play to all the party guests.
  • Greta has an argument with a friend and calls him a ‘homo’, for which she later apologises.

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:

  • When Greta is in the world of her imagination she sees strange creatures coming out of the woods. She finds herself trapped in a dark and endless forest where she is pursued by wild howling animals.
  • Greta meets strange characters in the dark forest that resemble her mother and father and friends, but have been transformed into monstrous and scary characters.
  • Greta meets a ‘frozen woman’ who turns her to ice. The scene with the frozen woman includes many visual distortions and effects, which young children are likely to find disturbing.

 

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Greta is bullied and humiliated by the popular girls at her new school.
  • Greta hears her parents having an argument.

 

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:

  • There is a scene where Greta’s sister’s boyfriend attempts to seduce Greta in her bedroom. He is mildly forceful with her when she resists. There is no assault but there is an implied threat.

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 find some of the above scenes disturbing and may wish to discuss them with an adult.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Greta’s sister has a boyfriend and a sexual relationship is implied.
  • Greta’s sister’s boyfriend is extremely flirtatious with all the female characters.
  • The popular schoolgirls have a conversation about how to kiss boys.
  • Greta’s best friend asks her if they can become more than friends.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Greta’s sister’s boyfriend attempts to seduce Greta in her bedroom. There is a mild implied threat of sexual assault however Greta stands up for herself and nothing happens.

Use of substances

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

  • scenes of adults smoking cigarettes and teenage girls holding cigarettes
  • adults drink wine

Coarse language

There is fairly frequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • deadshit moron
  • slut
  • you’re a frigid bitch
  • everyone says you’re a homo
  • holy crap balls
  • Mrs. Shitstick

In a nutshell

Girl asleep is an original, funny and warm look at the inner world of adolescence. It explores what it feels like to become comfortable in your own skin as you grow up and mature. Although the film is very quirky and surreal at times, the anxieties and fears about growing up which it portrays are universal and real. There are a number of scenes which are likely to scare younger children, and due to the film’s themes, sexual references and coarse language, it is best suited to teenagers.

The main messages from this movie are that things that make us feel anxious, uncomfortable and worried might not be as bad as they seem, and can be overcome.

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

  • kindness and friendship, bravery, assertiveness.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss:

  • sexual consent
  • bullying behaviour

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