Australian Council on Children and the Media

Paper Planes

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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 6 due to scenes that might upset or confuse younger children

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Paper Planes
  • a review of Paper Planes completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 January 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes that might upset young children.
Children aged 6 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: Paper Planes
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Paper Planes follows the story of Dylan Webber (Ed Oxenbould), a young boy who lives with his father Jack (Sam Worthington). His mother has recently died in a car accident. One day at school, the class activity consists of making paper planes and attempting to get them to fly further than 25 metres. They are told that the world record is 69.13 metres. When Dylan’s plane stays in the air for long enough to fly around the entire grounds of the school, his teacher encourages him to enter competitions.

Dylan successfully makes it through to the Australian National competition, along with another student named Jason (Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke). During the Nationals, a student from Japan visits to inspire and mentor the Australian students and Dylan begins to develop deep feelings for Kimi (Ena Imai). Dylan and his father have a garage sale to raise money for a ticket to Japan, but Jack is still feeling too depressed and grief-stricken to go with Dylan.

The day before the world finals in Japan, Jason deliberately pushes Dylan down a flight of stairs in order to injure him. Dylan sprains his wrist, and begins to doubt whether or not he will be able to complete at all. However, he goes through with the competition after a session of acupuncture and his father changes his mind and arrives to see him compete.

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.

Relationships and family; death of a family member and associated grief; competition

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 the film, including:

  • Another student named Kevin throws a ball of paper at Dylan, whilst standing on his desk. Dylan throws it back and causes Kevin to fall off the table.
  • Dylan slams the door after an argument with his dad.
  • After visiting an old museum and stepping into a stationary plane, Grandpa and Dylan visualise a war scenario –enemy fighter jets shoot the plane, and there are holes in the body of it.
  • Jason throws a small paper-made blade at another competitor, hitting him in the back of the head.
  • Jason pushes Dylan down a flight of stairs, causing Dylan to sprain his wrist the day before the competition.

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 children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The boys fire a rocket up, and it almost hits them when it comes back to the ground suddenly.

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 upset young children, including the following:

  • Dylan’s mother died in a car accident five months prior to when the film is set – he is coping well, but his father is still severely depressed and unable to function.

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

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Skype
  • Nokia
  • Apple iPhones and iPad
  • Gameboy

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When Dylan goes to visit his Grandpa in the nursing home he is staying in, there are multiple moments when references are made to him having sexual relations with the other ladies there. After Grandpa approaches the second woman, Dylan asks ‘Are you gonna help her out too?’

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Paper Planes is an inspirational and heart-warming film. Dylan’s determination helps to ignite passion in all of those around him, as he works to overcome incredible obstacles. After the death of his wife, Dylan’s father has fallen into a deep depression and stopped taking care of him. As a result, Dylan is forced to study planes and flight on his own, make new friendships, and attempt to win the World Championship for Paper Plane Flight while helping his father come out of the depth of his depression at the same time. The film highlights the strength of character that develops as a result of overcoming challenging situations, as well as the importance of building strong and supportive relationships. It is a great holiday movie for the whole family, although younger children may need parent help, particularly in understanding the father's behaviour.

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

  • Acting independently in order to overcome obstacles.
  • Being creative and seeing the value in doing something unique.
  • Having supportive friends, and taking chances with romantic relationships.
  • Supporting your family and standing by them while they are going through a difficult time.

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

  • The devastating impact of grief, loss and depression.
  • The nature of bullying, and the impact it may have upon individuals who are affected.
  • Competitive activities and competitions, as well as the sacrifices and determination it takes to succeed.

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