Australian Council on Children and the Media

Love the Coopers

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Not recommended under 12; parental guidance recommended 12-14 (Themes; Sexual content and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Love the Coopers
  • a review of Love the Coopers completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 December 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to adult themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes
Children aged 14 and over OK for this age group but a number of issues for discussion

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: Love the Coopers
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, sexual references and coarse language
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Coopers are a dysfunctional family who do not necessarily like spending time together, but on Christmas Eve the four generations of Coopers get together to celebrate. Love the Coopers follows the family members on the lead up to their Christmas celebration.

Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) are considering divorce now that their kids are all grown up and they realise that they may not love each other anymore. Hank (Ed Helms) has lost his job and is struggling to find a new one. Bucky (Alan Arkin) befriends Ruby (Amanda Seyfried) a waitress at his local diner because he is lonely. Emma (Marisa Tomei) is jealous of her sister Charlotte because she thinks that she has it all and is caught shop-lifting. Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) decides to bring home a man she just met because she is afraid that her parents will disapprove of her without a boyfriend. 

When the four generations of the family come together, unexpected events occur and information is brought to light that alters the dynamic of the family and strengthens their relationships forever.

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.

Family breakdown; marriage and divorce; suicide attempt; adultery; unemployment; grief and loss

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:

  • A bully punches Charlie in the face and he gets a bruise
  • Bo throws mash potatoes at his parents when they are yelling at each other

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:

  • Parents are often shown yelling at each other, and Charlotte and Sam talk about getting a divorce.
  • Bucky has a stroke and briefly appears to be dead before being rushed to hospital

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:

  • Hank talks about losing his job and not having enough money to buy Christmas presents for his kids. This may be scary and difficult for some children
  • Eleanor talks about how her baby sister died of a weak heart
  • Aunt Fishy has dementia and often forgets where she is and who people are
  • Bucky notices a scar on Ruby’s wrist. It is presumed that she self-harmed or attempted suicide but this is never talked about

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.

Some children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by some of the above mentioned 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.

Some of the younger children in this age group may be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned content.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • TGI Fridays; MacDonald’s; iPhone

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The word orgasm is mentioned
  • A little boy says “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” and then the little girl lifts up her dress and shows him her underwear
  • There is discussion of adultery and Eleanor being ‘the other woman’
  • Charlie tells himself not to stare at a girl’s breasts
  • Charlotte and Sam talk about their first time having sex
  • The doctor pats Eleanor’s bottom

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Charlie and Lauren (teenagers) french kiss several times in the movie
  • Other couples kiss

Use of substances

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

  • Adults are shown drinking in social situations and in bars
  • There is a flashback showing a lady passing out from too much alcohol
  • Adults are also shown drinking to console themselves
  • A teenage neighbour talks about smoking pot and Charlotte and Sam reminisce about when they smoked pot

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “You are such a dick”
  • Goddamn/ Damn/ Damnit
  • Hussy
  • Pussy (as an insult)
  • Shit/Bullshit
  • Stupid
  • Loser

In a nutshell

Love the Coopers is a rather clichéd Christmas drama/comedy about learning to love and accept your family. Due to its adult themes, sexual references and coarse language, the film is not recommended for under 12s and parental guidance is recommended for 12 - 14 year olds.

The film raises plenty of issues for discussion with older children. The main messages from this movie are that both Christmas and families don’t have to be perfect, and that sometimes it takes effort to keep a family together but it is worth it. It stresses the significance of honesty and open communication, as well as unconditional acceptance of people and their flaws.

The film also explores the nature of divorce, adultery, loneliness and depression.

Parents may wish to discuss the real-life consequences of:

  • shoplifting
  • dementia
  • unemployment

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