Dr Seuss’ The Lorax

image for Dr Seuss’ The Lorax

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 5 (Scary scenes, lack of interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
  • a review of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 April 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to scary scenes and possible lack of interest.
Children aged 5 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and possible lack of interest.
Children aged 6 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: The content is very mild in impact
Length: 86 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dr Suess' The Lorax 3D is the animated movie version of the well loved children’s book written by Dr Seuss in the 1970's. It tells the story of Ted (voiced by ZacEfron) a 12 year old boy living in the tree-less world of Kneedsville. When the girl of his dreams, Audrey (Taylor Swift), wishes for a real tree Ted makes it his mission to find one and win her affections. His journey takes him beyond the walls of Kneedsville and into the dark beyond where the land has been punished by the world’s consumerism and where living creatures no longer exist. Well none except for one, the Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms), who lives amidst the pollution as a punishment for his early mistakes.

Unimpressed by Ted's request to find a real tree the Once-ler attempts to dissuade Ted by telling the story of his youth, his obsession with the Truffala tree and the demise of his friendship with the Lorax, the guardian of the forest.


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.

Environmental disaster; consumerism; some mild cruelty towards children

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:

  • The Once-ler has a donkey who is upset that he is cutting down the trees and kicks him.
  • Verbal violence when the Once-ler's parents ridicule him and make fun of him. They make reference to having favourite children and the Once-ler being useless.
  • When the Lorax interferes with the Once-lers plans he threatens to belt him into the ground.
  • Two big burly bodyguards approach Ted and threaten him if he goes beyond the walls of Kneedsville again.
  • The Lorax is woken unexpectedly by the Once-ler and punches him in the face as a response.
  • Ted, Audrey and Ted's grandmother are chased by the bodyguards. They come close to danger at times but no one is hurt.

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, particularly in the 3D version including the following:

  • The scenes beyond the walls of Kneesville are dark, desolate and scary.
  • Ted finds the Once-ler amid the sparseness of the lands beyond the city. The house he lives in is crooked, dark and scary looking.  Seen through crooked blinds, the Once-ler has yellow eyes and long hairy fingers which make him scary. Later in the movie he seems less scary than he first appeared.
  • Ted is watched by the mayor through cameras that are set up throughout the city. Objects seem to be watching him which can be a little spooky.
  • The Once-ler and a baby animal go down the rapids on a bed.  Suspense is built throughout the scene and they almost go overa waterfall and drown but are saved at the last minute.

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.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

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.

OK for this age group.

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie but plenty of associated merchandise, the presence of which conflicts with the film's message anti-consumerist message.

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • An advertisement where a woman is seen standing provocatively showing her bottom
  • Audrey and Ted share two brief kisses

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language and putdowns that children may imitate, including:

  • weirdo
  • shut up
  • stupid
  • dumb

In a nutshell

This movie version of the classic Dr Seuss story tells the tale of the inevitable outcome of consumerism and deforestation unless people who care take a stand and make a difference. It may be rather scary for under 5s, particularly in the 3D version, and may also lack interest for this age group.

The main messages from this movie are about conserving our natural world and the dangers associated with materialism.

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

  • Caring for the natural world we live in
  • Standing up for what you believe in
  • Anti-consumerism

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

  • What happened to the Once-ler once he began to get successful? Could he have had a successful business and still looked after the environment? How?
  • The Lorax was the guardian of the forest. Who looks after the forest in our world? Why is it important for people to care about trees and the forest?