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Short takes

Not suitable under 4; parental guidance to 6 (themes, language, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Elemental
  • a review of Elemental completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 June 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 4 Not suitable due to themes, language and scary scenes.
Children aged 4–6 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, language and a distressing scene.
Children aged 7 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: Elemental
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and occasional coarse language, some scenes may scare young children
Length: 109 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After a terrible storm destroys their home in Fire Land, Bernie (voice of Ronnie Del Carmen) and Cinder (voice of Shila Ommi) set sail for a new land in the hope of finding a safe place where they can raise their daughter, Ember (voice of Leah Lewis). They struggle to find a place to stay as no one will rent to ‘fire people’ but eventually come across a derelict building that they are able to buy. Over the years, the building becomes more than just a shop and a home but a centre point for people in the fire community to gather. Ember is being trained to one day take over the shop and she does everything perfectly, except control her rage which, when dealing with customers, often gets the better of her. Trying to restrain herself in front of the shoppers, Ember disappears to the basement to unleash her fury and is suddenly confronted by a series of terrible leaks. It is here she meets city inspector Wade (voice of Mamoudou Athie) who bursts out of one of the pipes and, in talking to Ember, inadvertently discovers numerous infringements. Wade sets off for City Council and Ember, who has never left Fire Town, follows him in the hope she can convince him not to shut down her father’s shop. Touched by Ember’s story, Wade decides to help and they are given a chance to find the source of the leak and fix it. It is from this point that Wade and Ember, from two elemental backgrounds that are not allowed to mix, begin a friendship that turns into something far more profound. In the process of finding the leak; of finding themselves; and of discovering who they truly are, Wade and Ember convince their families that elements can mix. They demonstrate to each other and to society that when they touch, instead of being dangerous, they merely change each other’s chemistry, and they discover the importance of sharing true feelings before it is too late.


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.

Immigration; Segregation; Sacrificing for those you love; Prejudice and cultural misunderstandings; Controlling rage and negative emotions.

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:

  • Ember gets frustrated with a customer, explodes with rage, and accidentally sets the shop on fire.
  • Ember bangs into people and accidentally sets a tree person on fire.
  • A character is nearly hit by a car.
  • Ember explodes in rage and destroys part of her dad’s shop.
  • A great storm destroys numerous homes in Fire Land.
  • A boy hits Wade in the bottom with a bat.
  • Ember nearly hits a bus while recklessly driving.

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:

  • Ember gets deeply enraged on several occasions and explodes with fury, often setting things on fire. Her anger and ferocity may upset some very young viewers.
  • Some children may also be distressed by the destruction of the homes in Fire Land and by the fact that Bernie and Cinder had to go away.

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:

  • As Fire Town is flooding, Wade tries to help Ember escape from her shop but they become trapped in a small room and, as the temperature rises, Wade begins to evaporate. Both Ember and Wade try to save each other but when the water recedes it is only Ember left in the room. She is broken-hearted and devastated and falls into the arms of her family, sobbing at the loss of her true love. The scene is not scary as such but it is extremely sad and some children may find it distressing.

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.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A little tree creature has a crush on Ember and keeps trying to ask her out. He tells her how he is all grown up and has begun ‘manscaping’. He plucks a flower from his armpit and gives it to her, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
  • One character says to another: “You’re so hot. You’re smoking”.
  • Ember’s dad tells her that he and her mum will have more time for ‘hanky panky’.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Two trees are seen plucking fruit from each other. They are embarrassed to have been caught in the act and say: “It’s just a little pruning”.
  • There are a couple of scenes in which Wade and Ember attempt to touch before finally finding the courage to do so. They hold hands, dance, embrace and later kiss.
  • There is a ‘kiss cam’ at a sporting game and numerous random characters kiss.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Lazy ash (ass)
  • That fluffin’ leak
  • Dang
  • Jerk
  • Stupid
  • Some discriminative language such as: “You don’t belong here” and “Go back to Fire Land”.

In a nutshell

Elemental is an animated adventure from Disney Pixar studios featuring an extremely diverse cast with powerful messages about multi-culturalism and inclusion. Aimed at kids, this is a film that families can watch together and one that adults and teens may fall in love with too.

The main messages from this movie are to not discount people because they are different, but rather embrace them, learn from them and both sides will be better for it; that true love will always find a way; and that we should be open and honest with those we love as we won’t have forever to say what needs to be said.

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

  • Courage
  • Love
  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Compassion.

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

  • Believing people of certain backgrounds are all the same.
  • The challenges that migrants and refugees must face when coming to a new place in the hope of making a better life for their families.
  • The dangers of believing that ‘elements’ must be kept separate.
  • The disservice that happens to both sides when one group is excluded or not given equal opportunity and the harm and hurt that develops as a result.
  • Do people really forget who they are and where they have come from when they move to an unfamiliar place, or do they bring their culture with them and enrich their new home?
  • Sacrificing dreams because of what someone else may want.