Better Nate Than Ever

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 11 (themes, sexual inferences and mild language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Better Nate Than Ever
  • a review of Better Nate Than Ever completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 May 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to themes, sexual inferences and mild language.
Children aged 8–11 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, sexual inferences and mild language.
Children over the age of 11 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Better Nate Than Ever
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Thematic elements, suggestive references and mild language
Length: 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Nate (Rueby Wood) knows that he is destined to be a Broadway star. He has memorised the lines from all his favourite musicals, can sing and dance, and yet he doesn’t even get a chance to perform in a school play. When his best friend, Libby (Aria Brooks), finds out about an audition in New York the pair concoct a plan to enable them to go. With Nate’s parents away for the weekend and his brother, Anthony (Joshua Bassett), busy with a football game, they soon realise that getting to New York is the easy part. Winning over the team of casting agents, producers and directors will prove much more difficult, especially when random parents and mean rivals try to sabotage Nate’s chances. When Nate scores a call-back, he sets off to find his Aunt Heidi (Lisa Kudrow) in the hopes that she will help him realise his dreams, but finding his aunt in such a huge city proves easier said than done. With his charm, talent and creative knack for problem solving, along with a little help from family and friends, Nate may just be able to make all his dreams come true.


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.

Bullying; Gender stereotypes; Finding your identity; Family estrangement and misunderstandings.

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, including:

  • A bully grabs Nate by the backpack and doesn’t allow him to sit on the bus. Nate accidentally elbows him in the face in his efforts to take a seat. At school the same bully threatens to kill Nate, saying: “Watch your back”, while at the same time slowly drawing a finger across his throat.
  • All the kids laugh at Nate, making fun of him, while he does his final audition.

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.

  • None noted.

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

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Characters are seen drinking Starbucks products.
  • IPhones are used.
  • Tiktok is specifically mentioned and a ‘viral’ clip is shown.
  • Lilo and Stitch are referred to on a number of occasions, as is the movie itself.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • There are numerous veiled references to Nate’ s sexual orientation, such as the fact that he wears lip gloss, knows all the lyrics to musicals, doesn’t have romantic feelings towards females, etc.
  • Nate says that he has a ‘pornographic’ memory instead of a photographic memory.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • A couple of teenagers try to kiss at a party.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Crap
  • Idiot
  • Loser.

In a nutshell

Better Nate Than Ever is a musical adventure based on the book by Tim Federal. It is a feel-good, family movie about following your dreams and will be best enjoyed by tween audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that with persistence and passion, if you follow your dreams they really will come true; and that stars are not only found on stage, they are everywhere, but sometimes they are just harder to see.

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

  • Determination
  • Enthusiasm
  • Courage
  • Persistence
  • Friendship
  • Forgiveness.

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

  • Leaving home without telling anyone where you are going.
  • Staying in a strange city on your own and trying to make your own way around even though you are still just a kid.
  • Bullying others or trying to sabotage their chances.
  • Familial misunderstandings and refusing to talk or communicate with loved ones for reasons no one can even remember.
  • Judging others based on their sexual identities.