Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lunchbox, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 12 (Themes; lack of interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lunchbox, The
  • a review of Lunchbox, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 July 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to themes and lack of interest (in Hindi with English subtitles)
Children 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: Lunchbox, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Lunchbox is a film that follows the lives of a lonely accountant named Saajan (Irrfan Khan), and a housewife named Ila (Nimrat Kaur) who exists in a loveless marriage. After receiving advice from a neighbour, Ila decides to create a delicious lunch package to send to her husband. Due to an error with the delivery service, the lunchbox is delivered to the wrong desk and finds its way to Saajan instead. Upon talking with her husband and realising the mistake, Ila leaves a short message in the lunch box addressed to the stranger who enjoyed her meal. After some time, the two begin exchanging messages regularly via the lunch container, growing closer and developing an increasingly intimate relationship through their messages.

Ila eventually discovers that her husband is having an affair, and Saajan – an older man whose wife has died – decides that it would be a good idea for the two to meet. They discuss moving away together, but when it comes time to meet face-to-face, Saajan cannot go through with it. He later writes to Ila to apologise, telling her that she is young, beautiful and has her whole life ahead of her; he is old and cannot offer her the life she deserves. Saajan moves away without her, and Ila eventually leaves her husband and moves with her daughter to Bhutan. However, Saajan ultimately changes his mind and sets out in search of 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.

Love and relationships; culture and convention; infidelity; identity and independence.

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.

None of concern

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.

There are references to a news story involving a suicide – a woman jumped from a tower while holding her young daughter, succeeding in killing herself and her daughter.  

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the story about the suicide and death of a child.

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 in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Saajan tells a story about being sexually assaulted on a train by a woman standing nearby. However, he tells the story in order to explain that things are not always as they seem, and that it was merely the woman’s purse that had been pushing against him.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Lunchbox is a film that speaks about the enrichment of life through love and relationships. It presents Saajan and Ila as two individuals in need of companionship who, without actually meeting, deeply touch and affect one another’s lives. They each inspire the other to make a significant change, with Saajan quitting his job and Ila leaving her husband.

Although there is little in the film to disturb children, the film’s themes make it more suited to older adolescents and adults. It lacks interest for younger children, particularly as it is in Hindi with English subtitles.

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

  • The importance of acknowledging reality, and making difficult changes in your life.
  • Being prepared to take risks despite not knowing the potential outcome, and allowing new people into your life.
  • Having a decent work ethic and drive to improve your skills in order to be able to support yourself and/or a family.

Parents may also wish to discuss:

  • Cultural issues related to Indian marriages.
  • The issue of infidelity and the consequences it may have upon a marriage.

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