Australian Council on Children and the Media

Life As We Know It

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Not suitable under 8, not recommended 8-13, PG 13- 15 (Themes, sexual references, drug references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Life As We Know It
  • a review of Life As We Know It completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 October 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references, coarse language and drug references.
Children aged 8-13 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references and drug references
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and drug references
Children aged 15 and over Okay 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: Life As We Know It
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and drug references
Length 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) are set up on a date by their respective best friends Alison (Christina Hendricks) and Peter (Hayes MacArthur) who are engaged at the time. The date is a disaster. Messer thinks Holly is an uptight control freak and Holly thinks Messer is rude, unpleasant and can only think of one thing - sex. Subsequently the two meet up from time to time at functions such as Alison and Peter’s wedding and the birth of their child, Sophie, where Holly and Messer are nominated as the godparents. Each time the two of them meet, they bicker and are openly critical of each other.

Life changes dramatically when Peter and Alison die in a car accident. Holly and Messer have been named as guardians and are expected to take over the care of Sophie, who is not even a year old. To do this they are expected to live in Alison and Peter’s house together. Both have careers that are important to them and their own relationships, but they have to work around all of this for the sake of Sophie.

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.

Death of parents; being an orphan; sexual relationships

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 are several scenes where Holly and Messer argue. There is also a scene when Messer accidentally drops Sophie and a time when he pushes to the floor when she is standing.

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 be disturbed by the scene where Holly gets the phone call to say that her friends have been killed and she and an equally distraught Messer meet at the police station.

  • Several scenes involve dirty nappies and vomiting.

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 distrubed by the above scenes.

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 also be disturbed by the above scene and the idea of parents being killed in a car accident.

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.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Discussion between Peter and Messer of a young babysitter being “hot”
  • Messer is constantly talking about the fact that Holly ‘can’t get laid’. Holly on the other hand is always lecturing Messer about the fact that all he thinks about is getting laid.
  • Messer says that being out on his own with Sophie makes him attractive to women.
  • Neighbours discuss Holly and Messer’s relationship and whether they are having sex, with comments such as, ‘they totally did it.’
  • A homosexual couple talk about having no time for sex now that they have a baby
  • Accusation by the caseworker “Oh great you had sex” - something she is not happy about.
  • Reference to “a tranny hooker”.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Messer and various girlfriends are in bed together at various times, apparently nude but covered by sheets.
  • Holly and Messer kiss passionately, pushes him against the wall and removes his shirt. They then move to the bedroom
  • Messer and Holly are seen in bed together, covered by sheets from the shoulders down

Use of substances

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

  • several scenes where the adults drink alcohol, including one where Holly is quite drunk
  • talk about smoking marihuana
  • Holly and Messer cook and eat marihuana brownies and then engage in silly behaviour

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • shit
  • arsehole
  • we are screwed
  • friggin’

In a nutshell

Life As We Know It is a romantic comedy about how two people who are drawn together for the sake of a child finally realise how important they are to each other.

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

  • the importance of trust
  • the importance of working as a team
  • that people who care about you can be family even if they are not blood relatives.


Parents may also wish to discuss what it actually takes to raise a child and the plans that they have made for their own children.

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