Australian Council on Children and the Media

St Vincent

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Not recommended under 15 (Themes; Violence; Sex; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for St Vincent
  • a review of St Vincent completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 December 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes, violence, sex and coarse language
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: St Vincent
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, violence, sex scene and coarse language
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

St Vincent is a film that follows a middle-aged Vietnam veteran (Bill Murray) who is living a hedonistic, misanthropic existence, with little money or future to show for himself. Vincent’s life takes an unexpected turn when his neighbour requires a babysitter for his 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Vincent accepts for a fee, but instead of merely wasting some time and receiving payment, he discovers a unique and rewarding friendship with the young boy. Vincent goes on to mentor and teach young Oliver in the ways of life, street survival, self-defence and a range of other things. The two go on adventures together, and Oliver begins to see beyond Vincent’s façade of bitterness and misery.

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 friendship; war veterans; divorce; role models

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 mild violence in the film, including:

  • A young boy is taught how to defend himself against bullies. He later follows these tips and punches a bully, leading to a broken and bleeding nose – a cracking sound can be heard as this happens.
  • At the beginning of the film, a man screams in pain after accidentally hitting his hand with a hammer. After this, he slips and hits his head on the floor. There is a small pool of blood on the floor as a result of this.
  • A loan shark confronts a client who still owes him money – Vincent says he will fight back, but has a heart attack before this happens.

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 most likely to be scared by the violence described above

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:

  • Oliver’s parents are divorced, and this affects him considerably – he strives to obtain an alternative role model to teach him about the world.

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 disturbed by 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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • References to, and depictions of, Facebook.
  • BMW cars

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • During a dancing sequence, many of the girls present are dressed in very sexually provocative, revealing clothing. One is dancing and grinding on a pole while being watched by men.
  • There are references to a woman being a ‘lady of the night’, as opposed to using the phrase sex worker or prostitute.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • At the beginning of the film, a pregnant prostitute is seen sitting on the lap of an older man – she is wearing a bra, and he is in a tank top. The bed is seen rocking and it is implied that they are having sex.
  • A pregnant woman is wearing very small shorts, and bends over to take something out of the fridge – a man watches her do this as some of her underwear is on display.

 

Use of substances

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

  • During the film, Vincent smokes and drinks alcohol multiple times. He is intoxicated whilst in the company of a child, as well as while driving.
  • Vincent takes Oliver into a bar – the boy only drinks coke.
  • A man steals prescription pills in order to make money, but later discovers that they do not produce any high and are therefore not worth much.

Coarse language

The film contains considerable coarse language, including:

  • fuck; shit (used many times); asshole; dipshit; bitch; whore; retard (in reference to a disabled person)

In a nutshell

St Vincent is a story of friendship, self-acceptance and personal growth. It depicts the unlikely bond that forms between a war veteran and young child, both of whom appear to have similar levels of realism about the world and complexities within their personalities. The film demonstrates that it is important not to judge people before truly getting to know them, and that it is possible for even the most disillusioned of people to find joy and happiness through new experiences and relationships.

Despite having a child as a main character, this is definitely a movie for adults and is not recommended for under 15 year olds because of its themes, violence and coarse language.

Parents of older teens may wish to discuss a number of issues which arise from the film, including:

  • The impact of war upon soldiers and veterans.
  • The possibility for anyone to redeem themselves, despite the sins and wrongdoings they may have committed.
  • Irresponsible substance use, such as being intoxicated around children or drink driving
  • The consequences of divorce upon children.

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