Australian Council on Children and the Media

Monte Carlo

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Short takes

Not recommended under 10. PG to 13 (Themes; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Monte Carlo
  • a review of Monte Carlo completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 September 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to themes and coarse language
Children aged 10-13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and language
Children over the age of 13 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: Monte Carlo
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language
Length 109 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Monte Carlo relates the adventures of three young American women who go for a short holiday to France.  Grace Bennett (Selena Gomez) and her best friend Emma Perkins (Katie Cassidy), who have been saving for the vacation for months, change their plans at the last moment to include Grace’s older stepsister, Meg Kelly-Bennett (Leighton Meester).  Initially, the long-awaited trip is punctuated by tensions within the girls’ relationships.  As the days pass, however, the girls encounter a number of unexpected events that force them to reassess their lives, values and relationships with others. 

The most significant of these unforeseen episodes involves a case of mistaken identity.  Meg and Emma notice that Grace bears an uncanny resemblance to English heiress Cordelia Winthrop Scott (also played by Selena Gomez), who coincidentally happens to be in Paris at the same time as the girls.  When Grace is mistaken for Cordelia by staff at an exclusive hotel, the girls decide to temporarily make the most of the situation.

The deception leads to the three ending up in Monte Carlo where the situation moves in unforeseen directions and becomes increasingly complex.

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.

Relationship difficulties; deception; theft.

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 a few instances of physical violence in this movie, such as when:

  • Cordelia slaps Theo in the face
  • Meg, Grace and Emma prevent Cordelia from leaving the hotel by tying her to a chair and gagging her with an apple.

In addition, a number of scenes involve verbal violence, such as when:

  • Cordelia yells at Theo
  • Grace yells at Meg and Emma
  • Aunt Alicia verbally threatens Grace
  • Emma verbally threatens Cordelia.

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 are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent scenes

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:

  • Riley jumps from a great height into the sea after balancing on the edge of a vast rock formation
  • Grace, Emma and Meg inch along small ledges and climb over railings outside a hotel room located several storeys above the ground
  • Police are shown rushing towards the girls’ hotel room and it appears that Grace, Meg and Emma will be arrested for fraud.

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be worried 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.

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

Product placement

Some products are displayed, used, or referred to in this movie, including:

  • Hello! magazine;
  • The Parisian newspaper;
  • Ferrero Rocher chocolates;
  • Mercedes Benz cars;
  • Rolls Royce cars;
  • Chanel perfume; and
  • Oscar de la Renta dresses.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie including scenes when:

  • Theo looks suggestively at Grace
  • Emma dances in an exuberant, sensual manner while at a French night club
  • Grace uses sensual movements while teaching Theo to wolf-whistle
  • A fireworks display is used as a metaphor for the mounting excitement and sexual tension developing within the girls' new relationships
  • Meg is shown returning to the hotel the morning after a date with Riley. Whilst no sexual scenes were depicted, there is an implication that Riley and Meg spent the night together
  • Grace says to Emma, “you’re a bad girl”, to which Emma exclaims, “what did I do?” Grace looks knowingly at Emma and replies, “what didn’t you do?”
  • Emma smilingly comments, “mmm, warm nuts”, when handed refreshments by a young French airline steward

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and mild sexual activity including:

  • An unidentified man is shown reclining naked in a bath, but the lower part of his body is blocked from viewers’ sight
  • A number of characters wear tight or revealing clothing and swimwear
  • Riley constantly wears his shirts unbuttoned to the waist.
  • A number of characters are seen hugging and kissing

Use of substances

There is some substance use in this movie, including:

  • Several scenes depict alcohol consumption during social occasions such as balls, sporting events, and charity functions, by people at a beachside bar, and at a family dinner.  All of the key characters (who are over 18) are shown drinking alcohol within these contexts, although no overt drunkenness is depicted.  

Coarse language

There are some coarse language and insults in this film, including:

  • “Oh shit”; “It’s ass”;
  • The phrase “kiss my ass” is enacted by Emma, who kisses her hand and then places it on her bottom while glaring at Meg;
  • “Oh frack”;
  • “Texas Barbie”; 
  • “French fries”; “Ferrero Rocher” (both phrases are intended as cultural slurs);
  • “Crazy”; “Stupid”

In a nutshell

Monte Carlo is a romantic teen comedy. The film’s principle message involves the importance of finding, and being true to your inner self, rather than relying on material possessions to create a false personal image. Nevertheless, parents may be disturbed at the main characters’ flagrant deceptions, theft and fraudulent activities, and the minimal consequences that result from such behaviours.

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

  • honesty;
  • loyalty
  • courage.

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