Australian Council on Children and the Media

Ali's Wedding

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Not suitable under 12, not recommended under 15, due to violence, sexual references and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ali's Wedding
  • a review of Ali's Wedding completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 September 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence, sexual references and coarse language
Children 12 to 15 Not recommended due to violence, sexual references and coarse language
Viewers 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: Ali's Wedding
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and coarse language
Length 110 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film’s opening scene depicts Ali (Osamah Sami), dressed for a wedding, driving a tractor across a field while being pursued by the police. The pursuit ends with Ali leaping from the tractor just before it crashes into a police car. 

The film then portrays Ali’s childhood as a series of flashbacks in which we learn that Ali and his family were Iraqi refugees who escaped into Iran where they suffered abuse and tragedy until they migrated to Australia. The film then skips to the present day, but sometime before the film’s opening scene.

Ali, the oldest son of Mahdi (Don Hany), a Muslim cleric, has had a lifelong dream, or at least his family has, of Ali becoming a doctor. When Ali fails to do well enough, he lies and tells them that he has been accepted into medical school.

Ali’s life becomes even more complicated, requiring even more lies when he falls in love with Dianne (Helena Sawires). Dianne is an Australian-born Muslim of Lebanese decent, who is seen by Ali’s mother Zahra (Frances Duca) as totally unsuitable. Ali’s family organises an arranged marriage, resulting in Ali becoming engaged to Yomna (Maha Wilson). But Ali loves Dianne and temporarily marries her without telling her that he is engaged to Yomna.

Eventually Ali’s lies catch up with him and his life falls apart, but Ali refuses to give up.

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.

Families; relationships; cultural norms; refugees

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, some played for comedy and some more scary, including:

  • In a comical scene we see two teenage girls (on the other side of a glass window) arguing and then slapping each other.  
  • An Australian Iraqi man who travels to America is falsely accused of planning terrorist acts when airport security find text messages on his phone related to “The Bombers”, the man’s favourite Australian football team. The man is handcuffed while being interrogated by police
  • In one scene several soldiers point their guns at the head of a civilian, then push him to the ground and strike him in the head. When we next see the man he has open bloody cuts to his head, face and body with blood running down the side of his face.
  • In one scene a boy walking with his younger brother steps on a land mine. Aware of what he has just done, he sends his younger brother on, and as the younger brother walks away there is the sound of an explosion and see smoke rising in the background; the inference is clear.    
  • In one scene an emotionally distressed young woman cries and shouts at a young man, telling him that she hates him and saying that she divorces him a thousand times.

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 distressed by the above-mentioned scenes and also by some scenes of accidental harm such as the tractor crashing into the police car and Ali flying through the air.

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 are also likely to be disturbed by some of the violent scenes described above

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 may also be disturbed by some of the violent scenes described above

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.

Younger children in this group may be upset by the death of the boy who steps on a landmine.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • fast foods; confectionery; Australian and European cars

Sexual references

The film contains overt and covert sexual references and innuendo scattered throughout.  Examples include:

  • In one comical scene we see several young Iraqi boys looking through a hole in the wall at several young Muslim girls clothed and robed from head to foot. One of the young girls spots one of the boys and opens her robe to reveal her clothing beneath. The young boy then telling his friends that the girl “Flashed” him.
  • Throughout the film we hear a number of references made to an older man having 72 wives.
  • A young man says that he is married and that the sex is unbelievable. He then goes on to say, “My wife reckons I’m getting the hang of it”.
  • An older man refer to young men as being “horny boys”.
  • During a mock doctor’s appointment a woman tells a student doctor that she was having really weird discharges with the student going on to ask her if she saw it first or smelt it.
  • A young Muslim couple sit next to each other and the woman says “This is as much as we can ever do”.
  • An older man say to a second man “let hands wander as long as seed is not spilled”
  • A man talks about having 1300 temporary marriages, some which lasted a few hours,  some a few days and sometimes the time you spend in a taxi.
  • A young man sings a sexually explicit song
  • A man refers to a woman as a “dog” and says that she has nice “boobs”

Nudity and sexual activity

  • there is some kissing

Use of substances

  • men smoke cigarettes

Coarse language

The film contains coarse language and name-calling scattered throughout the film. Examples include:

  • fuck; shit (both used many times); dick-head; bastards; goddamn; bloody.
  • stupid, idiot, crazy (used more than once), bludgers, useless.  

In a nutshell

Ali’s Wedding is a feel-good Australian comedy romance targeting older adolescents and adults. The film has a genuine warmth and cultural authenticity about it and is likely to be enjoyed by the target audience. The film raises some interesting and current issues to discuss with older teens, but is not recommended for under 15s due to some violent scenes, sexual references and coarse language.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • If you lie, it can come back to haunt you with unexpected and possibly damaging consequences. 
  • A parent’s love for their children is unconditional.
  • We have to stop blaming others for our own mistakes.  

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

  • Determination and persistence as shown by Ali.
  • Selflessness: A young boy sacrifices his life to save his younger brother.

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