Australian Council on Children and the Media

Men, women and children

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Not suitable under 15 due to themes, sexual references and scenes including pornography, and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Men, women and children
  • a review of Men, women and children completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 December 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references and scenes, including pornography, and coarse language
Children 15 and over OK for this group but parents are advised to discuss the issues raised with their children

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: Men, women and children
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, sexual references, coarse language and nudity
Length 119 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Men, women and children is a family drama that follows the lives of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to deal with the difficulties that life and relationships bring about. At the crux of each storyline is an exploration of the important impact that technology has had upon communication, feelings of self-worth and major life decisions. In the process, the film examines issues such as bullying, celebrity, internet pornography, addiction and eating disorders among the younger characters, as well as infidelity, the use of sex workers and marital disillusion in regard to the adults.

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.

The impact of technology on lives and relationships; pornography; parental responsibility, infidelity and divorce

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 the film, including:

  • After one of the other members of the football team throws something at his girlfriend, a boy throws him in the air and down onto a table, then proceeds to punch him repeatedly in the face.  The other student has blood on his face.
  • A mother slaps her daughter on the face (not hard)
  • Cyberbullying
  • A teenage boy attempts suicide by overdose

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.

Children in this age group may be disturbed by some of the violence described above as well as a scene where a girl having a miscarriage is seen with blood running down her legs.

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 be disturbed by some of the violence described above and the scene where a girl having a miscarriage is seen with blood running down her legs.

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 may be disturbed by the following scenes:

  • A girl has a miscarriage.  She collapses in the school toilets and is seen with blood running down her legs. She is taken to hospital where they tell her she had an ectopic pregnancy but has miscarried. A doctor tells her this with her parents in the room, and this is the first time that they realise she has had sex.
  • After a misunderstanding, a teenage boy takes an overdose of the antidepressant pills he was prescribed and lies unconscious on the ground, frothing at the mouth. He is taken to hospital and is fine in the end.

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 may also disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

There is some product placement within the film, including:

  • iPhones and a desktop computer with an Apple logo are seen within the film.
  • Social media websites are shown frequently throughout the film, including Facebook and Tumblr.

Sexual references

There are many sexual references in the film, including:

  • A man tries to log onto a porn site, but the accumulation of malware has made it impossible to do so on his own computer. The narrator states that he had apparently ‘given thought to masturbating to merely his imagination, but he realised he required the limitless supply of pornography that he had become accustomed to’. As a result, he proceeds to use the computer of his 15 year old son. Viewers see that he types ‘youporn.com’ into the browser.
  • A group of teenage girls discuss having sex and ‘hooking up with’ older guys. One girl says ‘It was kinda salty I guess’, while another asks ‘Did you let him finish in your mouth?’ The girl has a photo on her phone of the event. She tells the other girls ‘If you don’t sleep with someone soon, you’re going to be completely retarded in bed when you’re a senior and it counts’.
  • A man talks with his wife about not having had sex in two months. She says ‘Ok - we’ll do it tomorrow, but it has to be quick’.
  • The narrator says that ‘Titty fucking cum queen’ was the title of a boy’s first pornographic video when he began searching online and that by the age of 15, he found it difficult to achieve an erection without exploring ‘a level of deviance that fell outside of societal norms’.
  • Two teenagers text each other sexual content – ‘what would you do to me if I was naked?’ with a reply of ‘I’d totally ride you’.
  • A man goes online to search for escorts in his area (choosing from categories such as breast appearance, with selections such as ‘perky’, ‘super hard’, ‘saggy’ etc), while his wife signs up to a website for married people who wish to have affairs – she writes that she has forgotten what it feels like to be desired.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is considerable sexual activity and nudity in the film, including:

  • Words such as ‘Charlene takes a huge cock’, ‘anal pounding’, are in a teenager’s browser history when his father looks on his computer. Short clips of porn are shown in the film and it is implied that the father masturbates to this.
  • A teenage girl poses in brief sexy clothing while her mother photographs her, for online subscribers and people who have offered money for the photographs.
  • A teenage girl and boy kiss each other and begin taking off their clothes after he tells her that she is a ‘serious piece’ after having lost weight. He tells her that it will hurt the first time, but eventually she’s going to have to do it. She agrees, and the film cuts to a pan-out of the door handle as the two have sex.
  • A boy creates a sex toy by drilling a hole into a football. He applies a moisturiser as lubricant and pulls down his pants. The same boy also tries to have sex with a girl but cannot maintain an erection for long enough, having become desensitised as a result of using porn.
  • The escort takes off a man’s pants and tells him that he has a ‘huge dick’. At the same time, his wife is in bed with another man, straddling him and kissing him. She tells him ‘I want you to destroy me with your big fucking cock’ and the man throws her onto the bed.

Use of substances

The film contains some substance use, including:

  • Teens drink at their friends' houses
  • Before meeting up with a man she intends to have an affair with, a woman pours herself a drink and sits at a bar drinking.
  • A man drinks at a bar while waiting for an escort he had contacted
  • A boy taks an overdose of antidepressant tablets

Coarse language

The film contains frequent coarse language, including:

  • ‘slut’, ‘bitches’, ‘fucking’, ‘cock’, ‘fucking pussy quitter’, ‘shit’, ‘dick’, ‘fag’, ‘fuckface’.

In a nutshell

Men, women and children is a film that demonstrates the complexity of human relationships and interactions, and the flawed nature of humanity, irrespective of age. It highlights the fact that contemporary society is filled with individuals of different generations who are overly-reliant upon technology.

The film demonstrates how technology may be a medium used to form positive relationships but that it may also be used for bullying or to access highly inappropriate content such as graphic pornography. Each of the characters makes mistakes and the other people in their life are strongly affected by their decisions – however, they all have decent intentions at the core of their behaviours. The film’s themes, sexual references and scenes which include pornography, and coarse language make it unsuitable for children under 15, but it raises some useful issues that parents are advised to discuss with older teenagers.

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

  • the importance of real, face-to-face social connection, as opposed to chatting with other people online.
  • The importance of expressing the love felt for others in your life, including friends, partners and other family members.
  • forgiveness as part of a relationship

 Issues that parents may wish to discuss include:

  • obsession with technology, and the social disconnect this has created
  • the impact of eating disorders upon the individual, as well as their friends and family
  • parental control over children’s use of technology
  • the nature of computer game addiction, and the consequences for the individual and their family
  • bullying in person, as well as via technology
  • divorce and marital breakdown

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