A Good Woman

image for A Good Woman

Short takes

Not recommended under 13; parental guidance to 15 (themes)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for A Good Woman
  • a review of A Good Woman completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 June 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Due to its themes this film is not appropriate for children under the age of thirteen.
Children over the age of 13 Children aged 13-15 would benefit from with parental guidance when seeing this movie.

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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: A Good Woman
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length: 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A Good Woman, set in the 1930s, tells the story of New Yorker Stella Erlynne (Helen Hunt), who is rumoured to have slept with, been involved with, or been the mistress of many of the city’s most prominent men. She leaves the States penniless, and arrives in Italy hoping to use an old personal connection to re-establish herself.

In Almalfi she meets Robert Windemere (Mark Umbers), an extremely rich American, newly married to the love of his life, Meg (Scarlett Johansson). Meg is a very pretty, sweet and innocent young wife completely devoted to her husband. Due to behaviour and circumstance it begins to look as though Robert and Stella are having an affair, and this notion is helped swiftly along by the prying eyes and gossiping mouths of Almalfi’s high society. Meanwhile Meg is doing her best to ward off the continuous advances made by Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore), a renowned playboy and one of Robert’s close friends.

Rumours abound and it looks as though marriages and lives will be torn apart until an unlikely friend helps Robert and Meg learn some very valuable lessons about idle gossip and true understanding.


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.


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.

The film contained only one instance of violence, when Robert punches Lord Darlington in the face. Fighting stops when Stella appears in the doorway.

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.

There are no scary scenes in this film.

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.

There are no scary scenes in this film.

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.

There are no scary scenes in this film.

Thirteen and overinfo

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.

There are no scary scenes in this film.

Product placement

None noted.

Sexual references

There are many sexual references in this movie:

  • In New York Stella is seen by the wives of the men she allegedly seduced as nothing more than a glorified whore. They mention finding her hairpins on their floors and her hair in their beds.
  • In Italy Stella is constantly referred to as: “a common prostitute with no principles.” The ‘refined women’ continually allude to the countless men she has slept with and the numerous marriages she has ruined.
  • Stella is constantly surrounded by the suggestion of promiscuity: lounging on her bed and wearing lingerie while conducting a meeting; shopping in a jewellery store and nearly asking to be kissed, walking into a yacht club and rubbing a man’s chest, shopping for the most revealing and risqué dresses in town, etc.
  • Robert is told by a maid that Lady Erlynne (Stella) will see him upstairs “in her bedroom”. When Robert mentions that he will “just take a minute” she and another maid share a look and begin to laugh.
  • Lord Darlington walks very closely behind a pretty maid and ‘accidentally’ rubs up against her as she enters a room.
  • Lord Darlington says to Meg: “How can I seduce you when you’re always bringing your husband along?”

Nudity and sexual activity

There are a couple of scenes, including:

  • Robert comes out of the shower wearing only his towel. Meg, wearing a flimsy negligee, approaches him and together they fall back on the bed, with her straddling his torso. They begin to kiss passionately and roll around, implying that they are about to have sex.
  • On one occasion, both Meg and Stella wear the same extremely revealing dress; low-cut both in the front as well as in the back. The dress, in light of the times, causes quite a stir and is the topic of much conversation.

Use of substances

Numerous characters are seen constantly smoking and drinking throughout the film. Also:

  • a range of wines is served in varying situations: while having ordinary meals, lounging at the club, playing cards, on board a yacht, at parties, in restaurants, etc. Stella asks Robert at one stage “Should we be drinking this early in the day?”
  • Cigarettes are most common among the male characters of the film, especially the older gentlemen, some of whom seemed to be smoking wherever they were.

Coarse language

There is one instance of mild coarse language: “Take the damn thing.”

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is that there can often be logical explanations for what may appear to be illogical behaviour. If parents view this movie with older teenagers, they could point out the damage that can be done by spreading or listening to idle gossip.