Emoji Movie, The

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance 5 to 8 due to scary scenes and characters

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Emoji Movie, The
  • a review of Emoji Movie, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 September 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes and characters. Also, the humour may not be understood by children unfamiliar with mobile phones and the use of emojis.
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and characters. Younger children in this group may not understand some of the humour
Children aged 8 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: Emoji Movie, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scenes may scare very young children
Length: 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This animated movie tells the story of the emojis that live inside the phone belonging to Alex (voice of Jake T Austin). They are waiting to be selected each time he sends a text message, usually to Addie (Tati Gabrielle), a girl he likes.

Gene (T J Miller) is supposed to be a ‘meh’ but he has malfunctioned. On his first selection he appears as a multi – emotional emoji, which is seen as a failure in the emoji world. Smiler (Maya Rudolph) is determined to eliminate him, but his friend Hi-5 (James Corden), who has recently been sidelined, wants to help Gene get reprogrammed. They enlist the help of Jailbreak (Anna Faris) to find a way to do this but Smiler has sent bots to destroy Gene and they must escape from them. Their journey leads them through many applications, including the trash bin and Dropbox from where they hope to reach the Cloud. They must first get through the Firewall however, which is no easy task.


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.

Mobile phones; emojis as characters

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:

  • One of the emojis is a devil who spears other emojis with his fork.
  • Gene jumps out of his cube and falls to the ground, crashing into everything.
  • Gene and his friends are constantly being chased by the bots, who fire laser beams at them.
  • The bots destroy several characters with lasers.

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:

  • The devil emoji looks quite scary, as does a skull with red eyes.
  • Smiler always has a smile on her face but is quite evil. At one point, she approaches Gene with a large hook to delete him.
  • The bots are quite scary ‘Darth Vader’ type creatures, black with red eyes, that shoot out red laser beams.
  • The Devil emoji catches on fire.

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:

  • Gene and Hi-5 go into the ‘loser room’ which is a scary looking place, with trolls, viruses and spam. The bots enter the room and everyone is scared. They cause much mayhem with characters being lasered, and Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak fall through into Candy Crush. Gene is stuck however, his friends have to pull his legs through and he seems to explode.
  • Hi-5 is captures by the bots and ends up in the Trash Can which looks a scary place. Trolls and nasty looking characters are threatening.
  • Smiler upgrades the bots to be more lethal, they now have rotor blades on the end of their hands.
  • Gene makes several attempts to get through the firewall but each time he fails, he’s fried by the fire.
  • Alex decides to wipe his phone and reset it. All of the emojis are destroyed, including Gene and Jailbreak, however they are restored when he restarts it.

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 of concern

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

In addition to mobile phones, the following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Candy Cush
  • Dropbox
  • The Cloud
  • YouTube
  • Spotify
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Gene’s mother Mary, a meh, says to her husband Mel that she s is ‘so overwhelmed with passion for you’.
  • Mel replies that his love for her is ‘like a red-hot flame’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Mel and Mary kiss.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is some drinking at a party
  • Hi-5 orders a ‘hack’ Daniels

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and toilet humour in this movie, including:

  • ‘for crying out loud’; ‘screwed up’
  • a ‘poop’ emoji says ‘not too soft I hope’
  • a lot of name calling such as ‘weirdo’; ‘freak’; ‘knucklehead’; ‘loser’

In a nutshell

The Emoji Movie is an animated movie set inside a mobile phone, with some comic moments and some pathos as well. Its bright colours and theme are likely to appeal to young children but there are some dark aspects to the movie that could frighten some children. The humour dealing with the mobile phone and emoji environment will be best understood by older children who are familiar with mobile phones and associated apps. The film is therefore not recommended for children under five and parental guidance is recommended for five to eight year olds.

The main messages from this movie are that having real friends is more important than being popular, and that good friends will help out even if it’s to their disadvantage.

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

  • acceptance of those who are different
  • loyalty
  • selflessness
  • determination