Australian Council on Children and the Media

Mamma Mia!

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Short takes

PG to 13 due to themes, sexual references and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mamma Mia!
  • a review of Mamma Mia! completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 July 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children over the age of 13 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: Mamma Mia!
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is about to marry Sky (Dominic Cooper), the man of her dreams. The only thing missing from the perfect wedding that she is planning is her father. The problem is that she doesn’t know who her father is, and neither does her mother Donna (Meryl Streep). Shortly before the wedding Sophie discovers the diary that her mother kept the year she was pregnant and learns of three possible candidates: Harry Bright (Colin Firth), a charming former musician; Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), the man who broke her mother’s heart, and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), a daring and now famous adventurer. Convinced that she will know which one is her father the moment she sees him, Sophie secretly invites them all.
Meanwhile Donna is preoccupied with arrangements for the wedding, repairs on her ramshackle villa and the arrival of two old friends Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters). When she learns of the arrival of the three men she is horrified that they are all there at the same time and, not knowing that Sophie has invited them, is terrified that Sophie will find out. Donna therefore encourages the men to leave while, at the same time, Sophie is begging them to stay.
Chaos abounds when each man independently concludes that he is Sophie’s father. In the process of trying to make it all right, many songs are sung, proposals are made and dreams are realized.

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.

Single parenthood; searching for a parent

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.

In one scene men from the stag’s night crash a hen’s party wearing strange masks. They come from the roof tops, swooping down from all directions. Some of the women scream and scatter. Some children may be frightened by the masks and the chaos of the scene.

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.

Children in this age group may also 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.

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

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

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • ABBA music and lyrics

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • “I don’t care if you have slept with a hundred men.”
  • “What shall we do with three men?”
  • “Are you getting any?”
  • Tanya puts a large flower between her legs and pretends it’s a penis.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Many of the women, especially Sophie and Tanya wear low-cut tops or dresses, showing a lot of cleavage and or thigh.
  • Many of the women wear skimpy skirts and tops in a dancing scene.
  • Bill shows his bare backside, featuring a tattoo on each butt cheek.
  • Donna caresses her breasts while singing a song.
  • Sophie and Sky kiss passionately. He moves on top of her while she is lying on the sand.
  • Tanya lifts up her breasts, shows her underwear and grabs her crotch while singing to a crowd on the beach.
  • A guy that Tanya met at a bar wants her to ‘pick up where they left off last night.’ So she goes down below his belt and does something off camera that causes him to roll his eyes and groan with pleasure.
  • Rosie shakes her breasts and does some dirty dancing on a table.

Use of substances

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

  • Frequent use of wine and other alcoholic beverages: on the beach, in the morning, used in making toasts, over dinner, at a bar, etc.
  • A number of instances where different characters are smoking tobacco.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:
“My ass”, “Stupid, reckless, little slut,” “Screw ‘em…”, “Fricken yoga…”

In a nutshell

Mamma Mia! is a light, sometimes silly, romantic musical comedy featuring, gorgeous scenery, a catchy soundtrack and a well-known cast.
The main messages from this movie are that sometimes you must take a chance, and risk everything in order to achieve your dreams and that life may turn out better than you could ever have imagined.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include determination, self-reliance, loyalty and courage.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of communication and honesty in families.

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