Best Birthday Ever

image for Best Birthday Ever

Short takes

Parental guidance to 4 (scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Best Birthday Ever
  • a review of Best Birthday Ever completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 August 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes.
Children aged 5–8 Ok for this age group.
Children over the age of 8 Ok for this age group but may lack interest.

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: Best Birthday Ever
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes
Length: 75 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Charlie, (voice of Max Lester) a young rabbit, is very excited about his 5th birthday and can’t wait for a fun day full of surprises. When the day arrives, however, he isn’t expecting the worst surprise of all - his baby sister, Carla, is sick and Mum (Jennifer Saunders) and Dad (Jonathan Bailey) have to take her to the doctor. Charlie has to go next door to his friend Monica’s (Beatrice Davies) house and wait for his birthday to come later. Charlie doesn’t want to be slobbered on by Monica’s dog, Bellow, so he decides to take his toys and some food in a cart to his Grandma’s (Adrian Edmonson). When Monica realises Charlie has gone, she chases after him and joins him on his journey, through the forest to Grandma’s. Things seem to be going well until they enter a part of the forest which is quite scary. It is dark, with eerie sounds, and they are being followed by a fox. Charlie and Monica have a few adventures on their way to Grandma’s which don’t always turn out well.

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.

Adventure; Fantasy; Animals in mild peril.

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 very mild violence in this movie, including:

  • Two rabbits throw blueberries at each other.
  • A baby chicken gets blown out of a trumpet.
  • Squirrels throw nuts at a fox.
  • Charlie trips on a tree log.
  • Monica falls off a ladder, injuring her foot.
  • Charlie falls down a hole in the ground.
  • The young rabbits throw nuts at a fox.

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:

  • A stork frightens Charlie, who jumps into his cart. This rolls away and lands in a pond.
  • The fox is a bit scary-looking, with yellow eyes. He lurks in the forest and stalks Charlie and Monica.
  • The dark woods are quite scary with hooting owls, spiders’ webs and eerie noises.
  • Charlie and Monica appear lost and a thunderstorm starts.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Best Birthday Ever is an animated movie based on the book series, Karlchen by Rotraut Susanne Berner. It is a very gentle, slow paced movie that is made for young children. At 75 minutes, it is a good length and suitable for all ages. However, due to the mild threat to the young rabbits, parental guidance is recommended for 4 year olds and under.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of friends; and enjoying the beauty of nature.

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

  • Friendship
  • Bravery
  • Kindness
  • Valuing nature.

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

  • What happens when you go off on your own without an adult.
  • Charlie is annoyed by his baby sister Carla and feels she spoils everything. It’s important for children to still feel loved and special when a new sibling arrives.