Australian Council on Children and the Media

Maid in Manhattan

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Lang. Sex.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Maid in Manhattan
  • a review of Maid in Manhattan completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 April 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended
Children aged 8-12 Would be okay to watch this film with parental guidance depending on parentu2019s interpretation of content.
Children over the age of 12 Would be able to watch this film with or without parental guidance.

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: Maid in Manhattan
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level coarse language, sexual references
Length 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

It’s an important day at school for young Ty Ventura who has to give a speech he’s been working on all summer. His single Mum Marisa promises to be there to hear it and hopes Dad Marcus will be there too. Marisa then heads to work at an exclusive New York hotel where she works as a maid. On that day, Chris Marshall who is running for the Senate arrives at the hotel with his dog Rufus, as well as an English socialite named Caroline Marshall.

Marisa just makes it to school just in time to hear Ty give his speech but the father isn’t able to make it. Ty fumbles through the speech which causes much laughter from his peers.

The following day Marisa is cleaning Caroline’s room when her friend persuades her to try on a $5000 outfit. Meanwhile Ty befriends Rufus and Chris Marshall and goes up to ask his Mum if he can take the dog for a walk. Chris walks in the room and sees Marisa in the outfit and presumes she’s a guest. He is quite smitten by her and asks her to come for the walk too. Marisa goes along with the masquerade and introduces herself as Caroline. They continue to see each other and fall in love. Chris and Ty also develop a friendship in which Ty sees Chris as a father figure. Eventually the real Caroline realises what is happening and exposes Marisa as the maid. It is then up to Chris to decide whether he loves Marisa for the social position he thought she had or for the person she really is.

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 very little violence and nothing scary 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.

None 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.

None of concern

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.

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references including:

  • when a man surprises the maids with no clothes on (only top shown) they laugh and say “it’s no big deal” with the emphasis on ‘big’
  • Marisa’s friend discussing her relationship with Chris says that “the only thing complicated about their relationship would be undoing her bra strap”.
  • Marisa replies “Am I supposed to make his bed with me in it?”

Nudity and sexual activity

  • A man is shown on the TV monitors locked out of his room and in the nude, full back view shown.
  • Women undressing in change rooms shown in underwear.
  • Chris is about to go to the toilet when he sees Marisa cleaning the bathroom.
  • Caroline and her friend exercising strenuously, much sweaty cleavage shown.
  • Chris and Marisa sleep together, they are shown undressing and waking up the next morning in bed.

Use of substances

There is some smoking and drinking of alcohol.

Coarse language

There is infrequent use of coarse language which includes the following words:

  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • friggin’
  • chicken shit
  • damndest.

In a nutshell

The take home message in this film is that a person’s character is more important than his or her background and that people shouldn’t be judged according to their social status.

Values that parents may wish to encourage include:

  • camaraderie
  • loving single parent family
  • loyalty.

Values parents may wish to discourage include:

  • deceit
  • making fun of someone in a difficult situation
  • lying
  • stereotyping of social groups, Marisa gets called Maria by Caroline
  • reluctance to move from one social group to another. Marisa gets a chance to try for a management position but is discouraged by her Mother

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