Australian Council on Children and the Media

Last Christmas

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Not suitable under 10, parental guidance 10 to 12 (sexual references, coarse language, sad themes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Last Christmas
  • a review of Last Christmas completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 November 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to sexual references, coarse language, sad themes, and may lack interest.
Children aged 10–12 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references, coarse language and sad themes.
Children aged 13 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: Last Christmas
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, sexual references and coarse language
Length 103 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Growing up in former Yugoslavia, young Katarina had big dreams and expectations: gifted with an angelic voice, she envisioned herself as a future musical star. In 2017, almost two decades later, now 26-year-old Katarina (Emilia Clarke) lives in London after her family fled the civil war; prefers to be called "Kate"; and her life is in tatters. Kate’s musical career has not taken off and instead, she works as a shop assistant dressed as an elf in an all-year Christmas shop. Kate seeks distraction in meaningless short-lived affairs, has been kicked out of her shared flat, and has even put off her most loyal friends with her erratic and chaotic lifestyle. As Kate hits rock bottom of her depression, she meets mysterious Tom (Henry Golding), and for the first time in a long while, she dares to address the trauma of her past, reconcile with her family, and give up unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of herself and others.

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.

Finding one's place in life; searching for identity; experiencing joy and fulfilment through helping others; unconditional love and acceptance; grief and loss; surviving a life-threatening condition; fate.

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:

  • Taking place around the time of the Brexit referendum, there is one scene where a foreign couple is verbally assaulted and threatened by a young man on a bus.

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:

  • Children under five may be disturbed by the depiction of the strong emotions of sadness and grief.

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:

  • Children aged five to eight might be disturbed when realising that Kate has only imagined her encounters with Tom, and that he had actually died in a tragic traffic accident.
  • The idea that Tom is a ghost and Kate thought that he was real may be scary for some children.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Children aged eight to thirteen might get upset when realising that the encounters with Tom were only in Kate's imagination, and that he is actually dead.

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.

Children over the age of 13 are unlikely to be scared by this movie but they may get upset about Tom's tragic death and Kate's grief.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • It is indicated that Kate has regular one-night stands.
  • Kate's boss says to her: "All you think about is sex."
  • Having to sleep in a makeshift spare room, Kate comments: "This is going to be so good for my sex life!"
  • Kate's boss and Kate discuss whether they had sex with their love interests yet.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • It is indicated that Kate has frequent one-night stands.
  • In one scene it is indicated that Kate is naked, though she is fully covered by a blanket.

Use of substances

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

  • It is indicated that Kate drinks too much, especially regarding her recent life-threatening health complications.
  • Kate is seen drinking by herself in a pub.
  • Kate is seen drunk, slurring her words, unstable on her feet, and getting emotional.
  • Kate's drinking is not glorified or normalised but depicted as problematic and as an inappropriate coping mechanism.

Coarse language

There is frequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • "shag"
  • "shit"
  • "Jesus Christ"
  • "dammit"
  • "shitty"
  • "silly buggers"
  • "bollocks"
  • "piss off"
  • "soddin'"
  • "shut up"
  • "bloody hell"
  • "idiot"
  • "I will nail you to my dick" (translation of a Yugoslavian proverb)
  • "penis"
  • "shit-faced"
  • "wanker"

In a nutshell

Last Christmas is a tear-jerking romantic comedy/drama starring Emilia Clark, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and Emma Thompson, that will likely appeal to families with older children who are fans of romance and drama, likeable anti-heroines, quirky characters, crude humour, big emotions, and the spirit of Christmas as a time of reflection and home-coming. Due to sexual references, coarse language and sad themes the movie is unsuitable for an audience under 10 and requires parental guidance for children under 13.

The main messages from this movie are that life does not always turn out the way you thought it would, that it is okay not to be perfect, and that you need love and support in times of crisis.

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

  • kindness;
  • seeing beyond someone's outward flaws;
  • true love;
  • trust;
  • charity;
  • self-reflection;
  • showing weakness;
  • evaluating and realistically reflecting on one's goals;
  • tolerance;
  • making up for mistakes and apologising;
  • standing up for oneself;
  • finding happiness in helping others;
  • health as the highest good.

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

  • racism;
  • organ donation;
  • homosexuality;
  • depression;
  • reckless behaviour;
  • Alcohol as an inappropriate coping mechanism.

 

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