Australian Council on Children and the Media

Loving

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Not recommended under 13; parental guidance to 15, due to themes and lack of interest for young children

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Loving
  • a review of Loving completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to themes and lack of interest
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Viewers aged 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: Loving
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This film is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose case challenged segregation laws in the USA in the 1960’s.

Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) is white and falls in love with Mildred (Ruth Negga) a black woman in Carolina, Virginia. When she announces that she’s pregnant they decide to get married, but to do so, they have to travel to Washington DC as inter-racial marriage is illegal in Virginia.

On arrival back in Carolina they are arrested, charged with miscegenation and sentenced to jail for 12 months. The judge allows them to leave the state instead but they are not to return for 25 years. Some years later, Mildred Loving takes her case to the civil rights movement and a young lawyer, Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll), agrees to take on their case for free. The case goes all the way to the Supreme Court where it is determined that the prohibition on inter-racial marriage is unconstitutional and puts an end to all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

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.

Racism; inter-racial issues; separation of families

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:

  • Police raid the Loving’s home in the middle of the night, smashing the door down and arresting them both in a heavy-handed manner.
  • There are menacing threats towards Richard and Mildred.
  • Richard is chased in a vehicle on the way home from work. He arrives home in an agitated state and sends his son to the neighbour’s house to get their gun.

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.

Apart from the violence described above, there is nothing particularly scary for this age group

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, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Mildred is very upset at having to leave her family behind and saying goodbye to her sister is particularly upsetting.
  • One of the Lovings’ sons is hit by a car while playing in the street. This isn’t actually shown but we see him recovering in bed with broken limbs.

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:

  • Mildred and Richard are arrested and put into separate jail cells. He is released several days before she is.
  • Both Mildred and another woman are seen giving birth (Richard’s mother is a midwife). There is nothing too graphic but they are both in obvious pain.
  • Richard has a brick placed in his car wrapped in a newspaper sheet with Life Magazine’s story of ‘the crime of being married’.

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 children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Dr Pepper
  • Corn Flakes

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mildred is obviously pregnant at the start of the movie.
  • While Mildred is in jail, a guard brings in a prisoner and as they walk past her jail cell, the guard tells the prisoner he might put him in the cell with Mildred that night.

Nudity and sexual activity

Richard and Mildred are often seen in bed together and kissing and cuddling, but there is nothing too graphic.

Use of substances

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

  • social drinking at various venues: bars, clubs and at home.
  • Richard smokes cigarettes.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Mildred is called a ‘damn whore’; ‘bastards’; ‘arse’; ‘hell’; ‘nigger’

In a nutshell

Loving is a true-life drama set in the 1960’s concerning anti-miscegenation laws. It’s a moving and compassionate film, which proves that love can overcome hatred and bigotry. The movie is quite long and lacks interest for younger children and, while there is nothing particularly violent or scary, its themes make it more suitable for older teens and adults.

The main messages from this movie are that love conquers all, and that quiet persistence wins in the end.

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

  • racial tolerance and equality.
  • compassion
  • persistence

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss laws made to segregate races and how, although times have obviously changed since the 1960’s, racism is still apparent in in the world.

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