Australian Council on Children and the Media

Biggest Little Farm, The

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 9 (upsetting images and death of animals)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Biggest Little Farm, The
  • a review of Biggest Little Farm, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 January 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to upsetting scenes including death of animals.
Children aged 8–9 Parental guidance recommended due to upsetting scenes including death of animals.
Children aged 10 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: Biggest Little Farm, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and infrequent coarse language
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Biggest Little Farm is a true story documented by photographer John Chester about his and his wife Molly's journey from apartment living to running an organic/bio-dynamic farm. Molly was a chef who had always dreamed of being able to grow all the food she wanted to cook but finances prevented them from living the dream. Then they adopted Todd, a rescue dog, who never got used to living in an apartment. John and Molly were eventually evicted due to Todd's constant barking and so, aided by some crowd funding, they purchased 200 acres of land in Southern California.

The film documents how, with the help of mixed farming expert Alan York, they transform the barren land into a fully functioning bio-dynamic farm. John and Molly also get a lot of help from volunteers around the world who are interested in mixed farming. As on any farm there are good times and bad times. John and Molly must learn how to cope with coyotes attacking the ducks and chickens, gophers eating the roots of their fruit trees, infestations of snails, blue algae and birds who eat all of their fruit.

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.

Farming; Sustainable living; Predatory behaviour.

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:

  • Some fighting between animals.
  • John shoots a coyote.

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:

  • There are several scenes showing dead ducks and chickens which have been killed by coyotes. The birds are seen lying dead all over the place and they have to be picked up and put in a pile. At one time there are 230 missing birds but some of these are eventually found. This is likely to be quite upsetting for younger children.

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 and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The farm is surrounded by bushfires and Molly has to evacuate from the farm.
  • Live births of piglets and a calf are shown.
  • Alan has cancer and does die. A memorial service is held for him.
  • Emma, a mother pig, gets a fever and becomes unresponsive. However, she does eventually recover.
  • A dead female sheep is seen on its back. Her lamb is left an orphan and is rejected by the other sheep. It is eventually adopted.
  • John has mixed feelings when the piglets are sent off to market.
  • A massive storm blows in which causes much destruction. Dead baby birds are seen.
  • One of their own dogs is seen with blood on its paws. It has also been attacking the chickens.
  • A hawk swoops down on a baby bird and owls are seen eating mice.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • A lamb is born with its intestines on the outside of its body. The vet has to put it down (not shown).
  • A coyote is seen paralysed. It has apparently broken its neck but is still alive and twitching.
  • John and Molly’s pet rescue dog, Todd, also dies in the end and they bury him.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • John and Molly kiss.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God.
  • Oh my goodness.

In a nutshell

The Biggest Little Farm is a beautifully shot documentary about returning to traditional mixed farming methods and learning how to farm in harmony with nature. Spanning a period of ten years, the film shows how nature can work to our advantage if we allow it to. The film shows much sadness in the death of various farm animals, a much loved pet dog and a family friend. Therefore, it is not suitable for children under 8 and parental guidance is recommended for children 8 – 9 years old.

The main messages from this movie are to overcome setbacks and disappointments with perseverance and determination and to learn from nature how to balance the good with the bad.

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

  • Sustainable living.
  • Growing and eating ethically sourced food.
  • Tenacity.
  • Teamwork.

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

  • there is a purpose for all things in nature – what might seem a bad thing such as the coyotes preying on the birds, can also be a good thing as they keep the gophers under control.

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