Australian Council on Children and the Media

God's not dead 2

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Not recommended under 10, parental guidance recommended 10 to 13 due to violence and themes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for God's not dead 2
  • a review of God's not dead 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 May 2016.

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: God's not dead 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 121 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

God’s Not Dead 2, the sequel to God’s not dead and with some of the same characters, takes place in a United States public high school.  History teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is asked a question in relation to Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach during the civil rights movement. After Grace responds by reciting Jesus’ admonition to ‘Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you’, the reaction is extreme. A complaint is made against Grace for “preaching in class”, with many at the school suggesting that her inclusion of religion breached the confines of what should be taught within schools. The school board and American Civil Liberties Union both get involved, but despite this, Grace refuses to apologise for her choice of statement – she remains unwavering in her stance that she was not preaching but quoting and did nothing wrong.

As a result, the matter goes to court. Grace is represented by a kind-hearted lawyer named Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe), who is willing to take a chance on her and admires her resolution. The prosecution is led by the lead attorney from the American Civil Liberty Union, Peter Kane (Ray Wise). Throughout the court case, the film gradually becomes less about whether or not Grace made a wrong decision, and more about whether or not Grace and Tom can prove that Jesus was in fact a historical figure.

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.

Religion: the law; relationships; staying true to one’s beliefs

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 limited violence in the film, including:

  • There are heated arguments between characters, predominantly over religious differences.
  • A son is smacked across the face by his father during a verbal argument.
  • Protestors shout angrily outside a courthouse, holding signs of protest. 

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 may find some of the above-mentioned scenes scary

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 find some of the above-mentioned scenes scary

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.

None of concern

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.

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

God’s Not Dead 2 is a film that focuses primarily on a struggle between individuals and public institutions. When Grace’s job is threatened and she is told that she must apologise for her inclusion of religion within class, she remains steadfast in her beliefs. She is presented as an inspired, motivated woman who will not buckle under the pressure. In standing by what she believes in the face of extreme opposition, she further inspires others to stand beside her. In doing so, the film highlights the importance of friendships and supportive relationships during challenging situations. The film also presents a critical perspective on whether religion has a place within a public education system, and emphasises the vastly different perspectives that exist on the matter.

The film’s themes and scenes of heated arguments make it more suitable to older children so it is not recommended for viewers under 13.

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