Australian Council on Children and the Media

Little Prince, The

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Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 11 (very sad themes (parting from loved ones, death of loved ones, dying, suicide) and dark / scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Little Prince, The
  • a review of Little Prince, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 April 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to very sad themes (parting from loved ones, death of loved ones, dying, suicide), and dark / scary scenes.
Children aged 9–11 Parental guidance recommended due to very sad themes (parting from loved ones, death of loved ones, dying, suicide), and dark / scary scenes.
Children aged 12 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: Little Prince, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 106 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A modern adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 1943 French novella, The Little Prince. The film follows an 8 year-old girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) – whose name is never mentioned – who lives with her single, workaholic mother (voiced by Rachel McAdams), who has great ambitions for her daughter. In order to get accepted into a prestigious college, Mother and Daughter move into the school zone and the Mother devises a rigid study plan for the Girl to follow over the summer holidays. Left by herself for most of the time, the Girl soon becomes distracted by her peculiar neighbour, an eccentric elderly Aviator (one of the characters from the original novella). The two become friends and the Aviator (voiced by Jeff Bridges) tells the Girl how he once crashed his plane in the Sahara Desert and met a curious little boy, the titular Little Prince, and he passes on important life lessons he learned.

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.

Priorities in life; enjoying life and enjoying being a curious child; friendship; love; compassion; hope; growing up.

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:

  • The Girl is restrained to a desk and a villain, "the Businessman", wants to turn her into "an essential grown-up". She manages to escape and the "essentialising machine" snatches a nasty teacher instead. The teacher gets dragged inside the "essentialising factory" and is heard yelling out in distress. His fate remains unclear as the gate to the factory shuts.

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:

  • There are numerous sad farewell scenes.
  • Learning that the Aviator is preparing for his death is likely to upset some children.
  • Characters are seen in great emotional distress.
  • There are some quite dark and gloomy scenes such as when the Little Prince encounters a mysterious, scary snake; and when the Girl and the Little Prince confront the vicious "Businessman" and his grim-looking followers.

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 in this age group might get upset or disturbed over the thought that the Little Prince deliberately allows the venomous snake to bite him so that he can be reunited with his love, who is far away and possibly dead.

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:

  • There are numerous emotionally intense scenes of bidding farewell to loved ones, and realising that loved ones have died or are going to die, which is likely to be upsetting for some children in this age group.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “darn it”.

In a nutshell

The Little Prince is an animated French-Italian production, which takes some liberty from the original tale by telling it from a modern little Girl's perspective, who befriends one of the – now grown old – characters from the original story. Parents who know Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella will remember that The Little Prince is in parts a very sad and bleak story, but the messages are beautiful and powerful. Highly artistic stop-motion animation used in parts of the film and a powerful soundtrack make this film a very stimulating and aesthetic experience, likely to appeal to families with teens. However, emotional intensity and sad themes, including reference to suicide, render the film unsuitable for young children and warrant parental guidance for children aged 9 to 11.

The main messages from this movie are that "one can only see rightly with the heart", that is important to enjoy and embrace life, that one should never lose one's child-like curiosity and imagination, and that true love and friendship outlast death.

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

  • allowing children to be playful and use their imagination
  • friendship
  • love
  • hope and hopefulness
  • there is more to life than "being a success".

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children:

  • the fact that life is finite.
  • the fact that everyone will face sad farewells in their lives.
  • that passed away loved ones stay alive in one's heart and memories.

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