Mavka: The Forest Song

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (violence, themes, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mavka: The Forest Song
  • a review of Mavka: The Forest Song completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 April 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence, themes and scary scenes.
Children aged 8-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, themes and scary scenes.
Children aged 11 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Mavka: The Forest Song
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and animated violence, some scenes may scare young children
Length: 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A wealthy sawmill owner searches an enchanted forest for a magical, mysterious tree that has the power to heal and to regenerate. As legend has it, he takes a drop of water from a pool by its base to cure his dying daughter but then, desperate for more, he returns with an army. His army attacks the woodland creatures and, in a fit of rage, the forest guardian unleashes a raging fire that destroys the army and devours the nearby human villages. Consequently, a rift is established between the human world and the mystical forest realm. No human is allowed to set foot past the mountains and those that do, never return. Neither side trusts the other and countless years pass while the forest guardian grows older and more feeble. As the creatures wait and wonder whom will be chosen as successor, Mavka (voice of Laurie Hymes), a kind hearted forest nymph, continues to do good and help wherever she can. Her goodness even extends to Lucas (voice of Eddy Lee), a musician from a nearby village, who ventures into the forest in search of a cure for his dying uncle. Touched by his story and his hauntingly beautiful music, Mavka helps him find the tree and gives him a leaf to cure his uncle. The evil Kylina (voice of Sarah Natochenny), who claims to be the sawmiller’s daughter, has other plans and is determined to have the tree and all its powers for herself. Meanwhile, Mavka is named the new forest guardian and must come to terms with her responsibility to protect the creatures in her care, while at the same time her admiration for Lucas sees her attempting to mend ties with the humans. When Kylina’s evil plotting takes an even more sinister turn and it looks like neither the human nor the enchanted world will survive, it is an unexpected source that brings both parties together to see where their hatred and mistrust has brought them and to show them that the only way they can save themselves is to unite against the forces that would destroy them all.


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.

War; Mistrust; Environmental degradation; Magic, Prejudice against those who are different; Rage and its consequences.

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:

  • Kylina recounts how the late sawmill owner was burnt up by forest demons and how she became an orphan.
  • The villagers whisper about monsters dwelling behind dark mountains that are capable of tickling you to death.
  • Two soldiers attempt to kill a baby bison for fun.
  • Lucas runs into a tree branch and knocks himself out.
  • A forest creature bangs Lucas over the head with a flute.
  • A bison slaps Lucas in the face with his tail.
  • A creature scratches a bison on the flank and Lucas (who was being carried by the bison) is knocked off.
  • A squirrel hits a soldier on the head with his nuts.
  • Lucas is strangled by a forest creature who also slaps him repeatedly. Lucas looks like he is about to punch the creature but doesn’t.
  • Kylina smashes a glass vial into a mirror.
  • A character kicks a chicken and is later attacked by a rooster.
  • A hammer nearly hits a dog on the head.
  • A gunshot destroys a chandelier.
  • Lucas smashes a man in the face with a shovel and then punches the same man in the face.
  • The townsfolk threaten to burn Mavka alive. She uses her powers to blow out their fires.
  • He villagers throw axes and pitchforks at Mavka and the old forest guardian is stabbed in her place.
  • Kylina imprisons Lucas after he is knocked unconscious and tries to drown him.
  • All the villagers go into the enchanted forest to attack and destroy it. They bring chainsaws, axes and weapons, while shouting: “Death to the demons!”
  • Villagers burn the trees with blowtorches.
  • A ‘forest killer machine’ rumbles through the undergrowth, destroying everything in its path. It is about to crush a small puppy trapped under a tree root when something blasts through one of its windows.
  • A forest creature is attacked with scissors and told he, “will be slashed into little ribbons”.
  • A forest creature is attacked by a mounted moose head, which then falls apart.
  • A chainsaw cuts down trees, creatures are on fire and animals are tied up, and Mavka decides to sacrifice her life for the spark of rage that is powerful enough to stop the humans from destroying everything.
  • A character is attacked with a chainsaw and later his attacker is attacked by moths.
  • Mavka, transformed by rage, chases the villagers back and burns their houses.
  • Mavka falls to the ground and appears to be dead. She is reawakened by the only magic that humans possess: love.

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:

  • The forest nymphs, who lure men towards them, initially look pretty and seductive but suddenly change into fanged, angry and evil-looking demons that emit the most horrendous screams. It completely terrifies the men and likely to be upsetting for some children.
  • Kylina’s face transforms into a wrinkled hag, briefly showing her age, before she takes a sip from her potion and turns young again.
  • Forest creatures chase Lucas into the night. It is very intense and they are all out to stop him, telling him that, “death is the only thing for a human to seek here”. He is nearly mauled by a bear and only just manages to escape the forest with his life.

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:

  • Two soldiers aim their guns at a baby bison and are about to shoot it for fun, when Lucas knocks into them, making them miss. The shots trigger a stampede of bison that are running out of control towards a cliff top. Mavka is able to calm the head bison and turn him just moments before the heard would plummet over the edge to their deaths.
  • Some of the battle scenes are very distressing: characters being attacked, puppies nearly getting crushed and villages and forests on fire. Mavka herself is transformed into a creature of rage and wrath and fury. She looks dark and different, and seems unaware of her surroundings and only intent on causing destruction. She swirls in a tornado of fire until music makes her drop the ground where she appears to die in Lucas’ arms.

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.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Some forest nymphs call to a couple of soldiers in a sexy and seductive manner. They flirt and lure the men towards them.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Mavka and Lucas kiss.
  • One of the soldiers flees from a nymph, stumbling out of a pond in his underwear. He later turns up dishevelled, tattered and terrified.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fools
  • Peasant loser
  • Dumb.

In a nutshell

Mavka: The Forest Song is an animated, fantasy adventure based on a Ukrainian fairytale. At first glance it may seem to be a family film but due to the violence, themes and scary scenes, it is not a film for younger viewers but rather one that will be better suited to families with older children.

The main messages from this movie are to be true to yourself and your talents; trust what you know to be right; and always be willing to work with others towards the greater good.

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

  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Loyalty
  • Teamwork
  • Trust.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Putting too much value on physical appearance and how someone looks.
  • Deceiving others for your own personal gain.
  • The harmful effects and lasting damage that anger and rage can have on individuals and communities.
  • Harming the natural environment and those who live there for a temporary gain.