Mt. Zion

image for Mt. Zion

Short takes

Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 (Themes)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mt. Zion
  • a review of Mt. Zion completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 March 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to adult themes
Children 10 - 13 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes

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: Mt. Zion
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

A coming-of-age story set in rural New Zealand in 1979, Mt Zion follows a family of hard-working M?ori potato pickers from Pukekohe. Turei (Stan Walker), despite working in the family business, is a talented musician who dreams of his band being the support act at Bob Marley’s 'Western Springs' tour. The dream puts him at odds with his entire family, however, and he struggles to balance his desires with the traditions and values of his upbringing. His father (Temuera Morrison), a true ‘man of the land’, finds Turei’s choices particularly difficult to grapple with.

 After Turei’s father is seriously injured one night while working, the small community pulls together to donate money to the family. In a moment of desperation, Turei steals the money in an effort to ensure that his band will be able to play on stage. Once they discover what he has done, the townspeople initially shun him but Turei tries hard to make amends and eventually regains the respect of his friends and family.


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.

Family conflict; culture and identity; forgiveness

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 limited violence in this movie, including:

  • Turei’s desire to audition makes his brother Hone late for work and he consequently loses his job. Hone punches Turei to the ground, although the violence is merely heard and not seen on screen.

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.

Nothing of concern

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 of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

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.

Turei’s friend, whom he calls Cuz, appears to be in a paid sexual relationship of some kind. The specifics are never explicitly stated, but she refers to the relationship as her “job”, says that she can’t leave and feels trapped, and is frequently seen looking extremely upset and demoralised. 

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are a few sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When Layla approaches Turei and his friends while they are swimming, she says “Calm down, I’ve seen it all before”
  • When Turei’s band are nervously waiting at the audition, and appear star-struck whilst staring at various posters of their favourite musicians on the wall, Layla asks “Are you fellas finished playing with yourselves yet?” in an effort to get them to hurry along.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Turei’s parents share a brief kiss one morning while sitting at the end of the bed, before heading off to work.

Use of substances

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

  • Alcohol use is seen throughout the film. Large cases of alcohol are seen being brought into a party, and many people are drinking as they talk and dance.
  • One of Turei’s friends drinks a bottle of beer while riding his bike home from the bar.
  • Many characters are seen smoking cigarettes, both while driving and during social gatherings.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • bloody, piss off, bullshit, stinky arse

In a nutshell

Mt Zion depicts the struggle of a young man trying to balance his family and culture obligations with the desire to follow his dreams. The film demonstrates the need to be true to yourself and the things that you want, but also realistically displays the challenges that can arise when values are brought into conflict within a family setting. Additionally, it demonstrates the mistakes that good people can make when they are misguided or put into difficult situations, as well as the lengths they often go to in order to gain forgiveness. 

The film’s themes make it more suited to older children, with some possibilities for interesting discussions. There is little violence, but some coarse language that younger children may imitate.