Australian Council on Children and the Media

Last Chance Harvey

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Short takes

Lacks interest for children and contains some sexual references and mild coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Last Chance Harvey
  • a review of Last Chance Harvey completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 February 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Lacks interest for this age group and contains sexual references and mild coarse language which may concern some parents
Children aged 13-15 OK for this age group but lacks interest

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: Last Chance Harvey
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) flies to London from the US to attend his daughter’s wedding. He works in advertising as a jingle writer, a job that he no longer enjoys but still desperately wants to keep. He has been given one last chance to land a deal and is determined to do while also attending the wedding.

Upon arriving in England Harvey learns that a number of last minute changes have been made to exclude him from the wedding arrangements. Feeling isolated and dejected after an awkward welcome from the bride and a series of miscommunications, he opts to return home to settle his business deal instead of attending the wedding reception.
However, as fate would have it, Harvey misses his flight and as a result loses his job. While drowning his sorrows in an airport tavern he meets Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) a single, middle-aged woman.  Kate’s over-dependant mother and friends have made it their mission to find her a man, but Kate has had enough of their well intended meddling and much prefers her writing class or a good book.
An unlikely friendship develops between Harvey and Kate and they spend the day getting to know one another. At Kate’s insistence they attend his daughter’s wedding reception and the events which follow have the potential to change both lives.

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 breakdown

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 no violence in this film.

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.

Nothing of concern

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.

Nothing of concern

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.

Some children may be concerned when Kate cries as she mentions terminating a pregnancy in her past.

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • One friend comments to Kate that her mother acts like ‘human contraception’.
  • Kate’s friend tells her that her blind date is hot and, with a knowing look adds that he has big hands.
  • At a writing class an elderly man reads an excerpt from a psycho-sexual thriller that he has written, including a passage describing oozing chocolate, dripping sweat and the deep, penetrating smell of sex.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • A busker, singing with a band, wears a skimpy, plunging top, a tight mini skirt and fishnet stockings.
  • Some dresses at the wedding reception reveal a lot of cleavage.

Use of substances

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

  • There is frequent use of alcohol throughout the film.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Repeated use of the words: shit, shitty, shittier, and shittiest.

In a nutshell

Last Chance Harvey is a romantic comedy suited to a mature audience. Due to the slow pace of the film and frequent scenes of adult dialogue, children are likely to find the film boring.
The main messages from this movie are that is never too late for last chances and that you don’t necessarily need to go looking for love. Sometimes love will find you, especially when you least expect it
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Communication; forgiveness; persistence; open mindedness.

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

  • Retreating into yourself and not allowing other people a chance to get to know you.
  • Judging other people because their habits or lifestyle are different to yours.

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