Australian Council on Children and the Media

Last Holiday

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 15 (Themes. Lang.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Last Holiday
  • a review of Last Holiday completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 May 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Children under 8 may find the story difficult to follow and be disturbed by some scenes.
Children aged 8-15 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes and language.

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 Holiday
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language, Mild themes, Sexual references
Length 112 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) is a shy but well-liked employee in the cookware section of a Kragen Department store. She lives a quiet life, but keeps a ‘book of possibilities’, containing photos of great meals she has cooked but never eaten, and fantasises about marrying her co-worker Sean Williams (LL Cool J). After a mishap at work in which she sustains a bad injury, Georgia undergoes a medical review. She is given the bad news that she has Lampington’s disease and has only three weeks to live.

Georgia decides to use her remaining time to fulfil some her ‘possibilities’. She withdraws all her money and goes for a last holiday to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, where she hopes to sample the fine cuisine of Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu). Along the way, Georgia meets her former employer and tycoon Matthew Kragen (Timothy Hutton), his assistant (Alicia Witt), her local senator (Giancarlo Esposito) and congressman. As Georgia goes about fulfilling her new but pressing desire to live life to the fullest, she learns to appreciate the experiences that a life fully lived can bring and in the process, changes the lives of those around her.

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.

Life threatening illness

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 one violent scene in this movie:

  • Georgia becomes frustrated when her boss takes a phone call while she is trying to tell him about her bad news, and smashes his mobile phone with her shoe. This is shown in a comic light.

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 are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • Georgia is clearly upset and distraught when told her disease prognosis. While in church, she asks God repeatedly ‘Why me?’
  • Georgia attempts a number of life-threatening activities, such as snowboarding and base-jumping, during which she briefly appears afraid. These scenes are shown in a humorous light.
  • Matthew Kragen is shown sitting high up on a window ledge while intoxicated. He appears to be contemplating suicide and Georgia, concerned for his welfare, joins him. Although there is minimal suspense in this scene, is may be worrying for younger children.

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.

Some children aged five to eight could be disturbed by 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.

Some children aged eight to thirteen could be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

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.

Some adolescents could be concerned by the theme of a life threatening illness and the depiction of someone considering suicide.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coke
  • Nike
  • Columbia (outdoor clothing brand)

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Georgia’s work colleague comments when looking at Sean, “you could crack a walnut on that ass”.
  • The same colleague goes on to say “You’re scared of someone holding your booty. He could hold my booty anytime”.
  • While dazed from her head injury, Georgia imagines Sean ogling her and trying to kiss her.
  • Georgia catches the married Matthew Kragen kissing his assistant in a hotel elevator.
  • Georgia later tells the assistant “You keep going down on Mr Kragen and he’s a married man”. She replies “Is it that obvious I’m sleeping with him?”

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

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

  • After Georgia receives her diagnosis, there are two occasions, at home and on the plane, where she is seen to be ‘drinking her sorrows away’. She is not intoxicated on either occasion.
  • During meals at the hotel, all the main characters are seen to be drinking wine, but not to the point of intoxication.
  • Late in the movie, Kragen is shown to be drunk and continuing to drink from a bottle of spirits while sitting high up on a hotel window ledge.

Coarse language

There is frequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • lucky mother f…..(the word is not actually completed in the movie)
  • damn
  • ass
  • are you shitting me?
  • what the hell are you trying to do?
  • shitty
  • bitch
  • crap
  • piss me off

In a nutshell

Last Holiday is a comedy about the repercussions of a shy woman deciding to live life to its fullest. Younger viewers may enjoy the slapstick and broad nature of the comedy and older girls may appreciate the array of costumes changes of the lead character. Adults may find the storyline contrived and the comedy often forced, but the performances of the lead characters are largely appealing and locations in the Czech Republic are beautiful.

The main take home message from this movie is to live life to its fullest and to not be afraid of life. Also ‘it’s not how you start but how you finish’ in life that is important.

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

  • friendship and loyalty
  • treating everyone as an equal and with respect, no matter their station in life
  • staying true your beliefs and responsibilities

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours such as:

  • Kragen’s mantra is to ‘take the loser inside you and beat the crap out of it’
  • Georgia gets angry about the lack of room in the plane and becomes obstructive and defiant in her behaviour
  • using alcohol to ease your troubles
  • infidelity

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