Australian Council on Children and the Media

Freaky Friday

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Viol. Themes.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Freaky Friday
  • a review of Freaky Friday completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 September 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 While there is nothing too scary or violent in this movie for parents of young children to be concerned about, due to its content, parental guidance is recommended for children under 7.
Children aged 8-13 Children aged 8-13 would need parental guidance to see this movie.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of 13 should be okay to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

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: Freaky Friday
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Anna Coleman is a 15 year old rebellious, troubled teenager with attitude. She constantly fights with her mother, psychiatrist Tess Coleman and her younger brother Harry who is always taunting her. Anna vents her anger by playing guitar in a heavy rock band with her friends from school. Anna also dislikes her mother’s fiancé Ryan who she sees as trying to replace her father who died three years previously.

Tess Coleman on the other hand is an obsessively organised control freak who does yoga in the mornings while applying nail varnish. After discovering that Anna has been placed in detention twice in one day and obtained an F for an English assignment, Tess removes Anna’s bedroom door saying that ‘privacy is a privilege’. Anna of course is infuriated; however she agrees to go out with the family for a Chinese meal. The following day is the wedding rehearsal which clashes with an important audition for Anna’s band. Tess of course refuses to let her go and while they argue loudly in the restaurant the Chinese owner gives them each a fortune cookie to eat. After eating the cookie the two of them experience an earthquake which no-one else feels. That night is a stormy, restless night for Tess and Anna and when they wake up the following morning they discover that they are in each other’s bodies. This results in much hilarity as Tess goes off to school in Anna’s body and Anna goes to her Mother’s practice in Tess’s body. Anna has a great time spending her Mum’s money and using her credit cards on new punk clothes, getting her hair cut, getting a stud in her ear and driving her Mother’s car. Tess manages to alienate all of Anna’s friends with her new mature attitude but she discovers why Anna is having such a hard time at school.

The two of them eventually come to see things from each other’s perspective with Tess even trying to play the guitar for Anna’s important audition. It is only when this happens that the ‘fortune’ can be reversed.

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, mostly set in a comic context, including the following scenes:

  • Anna punches Harry when he teases her
  • Anna gets deliberately hit with a ball while playing volleyball
  • Anna hits the girl back with the ball
  • Stacy pulls Anna’s jumper over her head which makes her fall backwards and trip over a bike
  • Anna hits Jakes and slaps him across the face
  • Anna grabs Jake by the ankle and pulls him under a table

 

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.

There is a little in this movie that might scare young children including:

  • Anna and Tess experience an earthquake and during the night it is stormy with eerie music.
  • The fact that they inhabit each other’s bodies might scare or confuse young children.
  • When Harry can’t wake his Mother (Anna) he thinks she’s dead.

 

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.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

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.

Younger children in this age group might still be confused that mother and daughter have “changed bodies”; however most would probably be able to cope with this.

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.

It is unlikely that children in this age group would be scared or disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity however “Tess” (Anna) wears a G-string and Harry and his mates dress up in Anna’s bras.

Use of substances

There is some drinking of alcohol in the restaurant and at the wedding.

Coarse language

There are several uses of ‘Oh God’ and ‘Oh my God’. Also the Grandfather is referred to as an ‘old fart’.

In a nutshell

The take home message of this movie is that when family conflicts arise it’s really important to try to see things from the other person’s perspective.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • caring and concern
  • understanding
  • loyalty
  • what’s on the inside of a person is more important than what’s on the outside.

 

Values parents may wish to discourage include:

  • fighting and arguing
  • spitefulness
  • deceit
  • selfishness
  • cheating
  • bullying
  • name-calling, e.g ‘pyscho freak’

 

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