Fantastic beasts and where to find them

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Not recommended under 13; parental guidance recommended 13 to 15 due to scary and violent scenes and disturbing themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fantastic beasts and where to find them
  • a review of Fantastic beasts and where to find them completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 November 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to scary and violent scenes and disturbing themes.
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to scary and violent scenes and disturbing themes.
Viewers 15 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: Fantastic beasts and where to find them
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy themes and violence
Length: 133 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Fantastic beasts and where to find them is a prequel to the Harry Potter movies but it is more adult focussed. The story, set in the 1930s, follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) a British Wizard with a passion for magical beasts and the creator of the infamous Hogwarts Textbook of Magical Creatures. Scamander journeys to New York with his suitcase full of magical beasts. When one of the cute but cheeky creatures escapes and causes havoc, and Scamander misplaces his suitcase, New York is set for some magical fun. 

New York city is already having some troubles with a mysterious black and destructive force that is destroying property and causing fear and mayhem in the No-maj (Muggle) population. Scamander not only has to try and find all his escaped beasts on the streets of New York, he must also make sure that the black force doesn't end up in the wrong hands.


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.

Wizardry and the occult; extinction and conservation of animals; war and terrorism; domestic violence and abuse

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 are many scenes of violence in this movie including:

  • Wands are used to fight people and cause harm
  • It is revealed that a young man (Credence, played by Ezra Miller) is whipped and beaten by his adoptive mother; this is implied but we see scars and cuts on his hands
  • Destruction and vandalism of property
  • A dark and demonic force causes the death of several characters who appear withered and wrinkled after coming out of the black cloud.

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:

  • Although most of the magical creatures in this film are very cute, some of them are quite monstrous, some of them are very strange to look at and some of them bite or scratch
  • The destructive force is shown as a black, swirling and chaotic cloud that can damage buildings. It moves very fast and can cause death – the people who have died look withered and wrinkled
  • There is a woman who has adopted lots of orphan children who work for her. She treats them badly and they are afraid of her. Her cruelty is implied rather than shown, but this would still be confusing and scary for under fives
  • Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler) is chased by one of the large beasts. He manages to escape and is unharmed, but it is a scary chase
  • When Credence transforms himself, it is visually and emotionally scary

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:

  • There are scenes where Percival Graves (played by Colin Farrell) is manipulating and coercing Credence into being his spy. This is quite threatening.
  • Credence has many emotional and psychological issues due to the extensive abuse he has suffered. Some children may find this disturbing.

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.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by a number of the above mentioned scenes.

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.

Younger children in this age group may like to discuss some of the themes with their parents or caregivers

Product placement

None of concern in the movie but plenty of tie-in Harry Potter merchandise.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Flirtation, lingering looks and romance between Jake Kowalski and Queenie (played by Alison Sudol)
  • Lingering romantic looks exchanged between Scamander and Porpentina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston).

Nudity and sexual activity

Queenie is shown in her nightgown and then seductively dressing while being ogled by Kowalski, who is awestruck by her beauty.

Use of substances

There are some instances of substance use in this movie, including:

  • The characters enter a bar and have some alcoholic drinks
  • Some characters are seen smoking cigars.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “bugger”

In a nutshell

Fantastic beasts and where to find them, a prequel to the Harry Potter series, is a beautifully made, visually spectacular fantasy film that teenagers and their parents are likely to enjoy. Although there are some dark themes in this film, they are treated lightly and there is enough humour and fun to make it not too intense. The characters are kind and strong and refreshingly unconventional. There are, however, some scary and violent scenes and disturbing themes, so the film is not recommended for children under 13. Parental guidance is recommended for the 13 to 15 year old age group.

The movie has important messages about:

  • using manipulation and threats to get people to do things for you
  • prejudice against people who are different
  • showing empathy and kindness to people who need it most
  • fighting hard to protect and conserve endangered animals