Australian Council on Children and the Media

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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Not suitable for children under 13, parental guidance recommended for 13 to15 year olds due to violence, and disturbing scenes and themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  • a review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 October 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes
Children 13 to 15 parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes
Children 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: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy themes and violence, some scary scenes
Length 127 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a film based on the popular book of the same name by American author Ransom Riggs.  It is directed by Tim Burton and is in keeping with his typically dark, quirky and surreal style. The plot follows Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield), a 16 year old American teenager who is compelled to seek out the truth about his grandfather's strange stories about a Welsh orphanage and its assortment of quirky child inhabitants.

Jake journeys to a remote Welsh island with his father and finds himself in an alternate, time-manipulated, existence. The inhabitants of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children are locked within a time loop for their own safety, but terrifying monsters and evil characters threaten their existence. It falls to Jake, with his own special peculiarity, to help save the children.

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; being different; jealousy; good versus evil; magic and fantasy; mental illness; war and Nazis

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 many incidents of violence in this movie including:

  • One of the orphaned children creates small puppet monsters using dolls and weapons. He brings them to life and orders them to slaughter one another violently. There is an explicit scene of one 'toy' slicing the other through the heart.
  • The 'Hollows', the monsters of the film, are shown sucking the eyeballs out of children's heads and eating them and piling them up to eat.
  • There are many scenes involving fights that use weapons such as knives, cleavers, bow and arrows etc.
  • There is also fantasy violence, such as turning people to stone or ice or setting them on fire.

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 many scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are two kinds of monsters in this film: the 'Wights' and the 'Hollows'. The Wights are human like but have empty blank white eyes. The Hollows are terrifying giant creatures with blank, skull-like heads, sharp teeth and tentacles that come out of their mouths. They use these tentacles to grab their victims and suck the eyeballs out of their skulls. Victims of the Hollows are shown with empty eye sockets.
  • Enoch, one of the orphaned children, has the ability to resurrect the dead, or to bring objects to life. In one scene he inserts a beating heart into the body of a dead child. The dead child has no eyeballs, only empty sockets, but sits up and starts to talk. It is a very scary scene.
  • Some of the children are quite scary. There are twins who must always wear hessian sacks tied over their heads, a girl who has a carnivorous mouth on the back of her head and a boy who is full of bees that swarm in and out of his mouth.
  • In order to fight the Hollows, Enoch brings an army of skeletons to life. They are like zombies and fight to attack the Hollows.
  • Jake finds his grandfather dead and with empty eye sockets.

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:

  • Nazis repeatedly bomb the house where Miss Peregrine lives. There are slow motion scenes of the bomb dropping out of the sky. No one is harmed but the house is destroyed.
  • Jake discovers that his psychiatrist, someone who he had placed trust in, is actually one of the Wights in disguise.
  • Jake must make decisions about whether or not to leave his family forever.
  • Jake's father is dismissive and doesn't seem to care much about Jake. Jake's family think he is weird.

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 of this age group may be able to pick up on some of the more subtle themes that run through this movie, such as death, war, and feeling different or like an outsider. This could intensify the film for them and some may find it disturbing.

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 also find some of the scenes in this movie scary or disturbing. There are many 'horror' themes in this film.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some scenes depicting teenage romance and mild flirtation between Jake and Emma.

Nudity and sexual activity

Jake and Emma kiss.

Use of substances

Adults drink in a pub

Coarse language

"crap"; "holy crap balls"

In a nutshell

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a comedy horror movie based on teen fiction. It blends fantasy, magic and horror with a warm and relatable narrative about being unique and accepting of differences. The film’s M rating is well-deserved. It is very dark, menacing and creepy in some parts and the monsters are quite terrifying.  It is therefore not recommended for children under 13, with parental guidance recommended for the 13 to 15 age group.

The main message from this movie is that our differences are also our gifts.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include bravery, teamwork, self-sacrifice, acceptance, friendship and family.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • what happens when people we trust deceive us
  • the repercussions of the Second World War
  • how it feels when someone you love dies

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