Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lassie Come Home (2020)

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Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 6 (distressing themes (separation from beloved pet, characters seen in emotional distress, implied loss of parent))

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lassie Come Home (2020)
  • a review of Lassie Come Home (2020) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 November 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to distressing themes (separation from beloved pet, characters seen in emotional distress, implied loss of parent).
Children aged 5–6 Parental guidance recommended due to distressing themes (separation from beloved pet, characters seen in emotional distress, implied loss of parent). May also lack interest.
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.

Name of movie: Lassie Come Home (2020)
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Bavaria, South Germany: After not being able to afford to live in their house anymore, 12 year-old Jo (Nico Marischka) and his parents must move into a rental apartment. Unfortunately, the landlady does not like dogs, so they temporarily place their collie, Lassie, with family friends, Mr Springer (Matthias Habich) and his granddaughter Bella (Bella Bading). Mr Springer and Bella take Lassie along on a trip to North Germany. Missing her family, Lassie escapes – unaware that she is hundreds of kilometres away from home – and starts making her way through the German countryside, while Bella and Jo also run off to go on a frantic search.

Themesinfo

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.

Family; Adventure; Animal hero; Friendship.

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 mild violence in this movie including:

  • A former employee of Mr Springer wants to earn the reward for finding Lassie, and threatens Lassie with pepper spray (he accidentally sprays it at himself), upon which he runs into a tree and faints.

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 audience learns that Bella's mother and grandmother died in a car accident. Bella's father and grandfather are struggling to get over the loss.
  • Jo is seen distressed and crying over worrying about Lassie on several occasions.
  • In one scene, Jo and Bella get into trouble and nearly drown in a river. In trying to help them, Lassie jumps in but gets carried away by the current, falls down a waterfall, and is feared 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.

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:

  • Some children in this age group may be disturbed by some of 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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • The landlady is having a beer while watching TV.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • You damn dog
  • Idiot
  • Dumb dog
  • Stupid cow.

In a nutshell

Lassie Come Home is the latest adaptation of the adventures of the rough collie, "Lassie", who first became famous and popular with the 1943 classic with the same title, starring a young Elizabeth Taylor. Generations of children have since followed Lassie's adventures in numerous movies and a successful TV series. This time, the story is set in modern-day Germany, but sticks with the main ingredients: a deep friendship between a child and a loyal dog, a painful separation, and desperate efforts from all parties to have Lassie come home. There is only mild level peril, scary or violent material, instead, some more interpersonal drama for the human protagonists. Children will enjoy the animal and funny scenes, and probably won't be too bothered by some (in fact, many) quite unrealistic chance events. Australian children might also enjoy getting an impression of the beautiful German scenery, and since the movie was dubbed from the original German into English language, foreign language and subtitles pose no barrier.

The main messages from this movie are that people – and animals – can achieve extraordinary things if they set their mind to it, and that family and friendship are the most important goods.

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

  • Friendship
  • Facing difficulties and challenges
  • Courage.

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

  • Avoidance and running away: Bella's father, and also grandfather, did not face their tragic losses of a loved one in very constructive ways: they both tried to avoid the pain, inadvertently creating more hardship for themselves and others. Gladly, they learn their lesson by the end of the movie and start making better choices.

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