Australian Council on Children and the Media

Paddington

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Not recommended under 5; Parental guidance recommended 5-7 (Violence and scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Paddington
  • a review of Paddington completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 December 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 5 to 7 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children 7 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: Paddington
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 95 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is a special bear who loves marmalade sandwiches and lives in deepest darkest Peru with his aunt (Imelda Staunton) and uncle (Michael Gambon). But when an earthquake destroys their home Paddington is forced to relocate to London to try and find a new family to live with.

The Brown family find Paddington alone at Paddington Station and reluctantly let him come home with them. Much to the horror of Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) promises to help Paddington find his explorer friend who might give him a home.

Meanwhile, an evil museum taxidermist named Millicent (Nicole Kidman) finds out about Paddington and starts to hunt him down so she can stuff him and put him in her museum. When Paddington is kidnapped, the Brown family realise their love for the bear and must try to save him.  

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.

Kidnapping; loss of a family member; cruelty to animals; natural disasters

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:

  • Millicent tries to shoot Paddington several times and eventually succeeds in shooting him with a tranquilizer gun
  • The explorer points a shot gun at Paddington’s uncle but doesn’t shoot.
  • Millicent slaps her assistant in the face
  • Millicent threatens to cut up Paddington with knives and stuff him.
  • Millicent hangs a taxi driver upside-down and threatens him with a knife. She then throws him in the water.
  • Millicent tries to burn Paddington in a furnace but he manages to escape.  

 

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:

  • There is an earthquake at the beginning of the film that destroys Paddington’s home in Peru. This may be scary for young children as the screen shakes and trees are crashing down everywhere. It is also suggested that Paddington’s uncle dies in the earthquake because they can only find his hat.
  • Paddington is alone at Paddington Station in London. People are busily rushing around him and he looks scared.
  • There are many slapstick comedy scenes in this movie where Paddington accidentally falls off things, sets fire to the kitchen and floods the bathroom. Although, these scenes are meant to be comedic, some children may find them scary.
  • There is mention that Paddington might be sent to an orphanage and we see a shot of a scary looking orphanage with thunder and lightning.
  • When they are on the underground train, Mr. Brown tells Paddington that there are “thieves, murderers and pickpockets on every platform”.
  • Paddington accidentally sets fire to the kitchen and Millicent has a fire ball explode in her face.
  • Paddington runs away from the Brown family and sleeps alone on a bench. He looks scared and frightened.
  • Mr. Brown dangerously climbs up the outside of a building and almost falls.   

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 may also be scared or disturbed by the above mentioned 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 are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mr Brown dresses up as a cleaning lady for a disguise and the security guard leers at him and calls him ‘sexy’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • The parents share a passionate kiss

Use of substances

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

  • Mrs. Bird gets the security guard drunk with shots of whisky. We see them drinking one shot and then come back to them drunk, with two empty bottles.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie that children may imitate, including:

  • shut up
  • stupid
  • shut your pie hole
  • dung breath
  • bloody

 

In a nutshell

Paddington, based on the well-known children’s books by Michael Bond, is a funny and heart-warming film about being kind to strangers and learning that it is okay to be different. It is ideal for children over the age of seven. Despite the G rating, it is not recommended for under fives, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged five to seven, because of the violent and scary elements of the film. Our reviewer reports that a number of young children were scared at the preview she attended.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • It is okay to be different and important to accept others who are different
  • Families should stick together

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

  • kindness
  • being polite

The film also gives parents an opportunity to discuss how animals should be treated and the real-life consequences of poaching.

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