Australian Council on Children and the Media

My Life in Ruins

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Lack of interest for younger children, sexual references, coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for My Life in Ruins
  • a review of My Life in Ruins completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 July 2009.

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: My Life in Ruins
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length 95 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Georgia (Nia Vardalos), who has come to Greece from America to work as a professor of ancient history, has lost her job as and is now reluctantly working as a tour guide. Her boss Maria (Bernice Stegers) is not happy with her, as her tours are generally rated as “average” which is actually the worst rating that you can get. As a result Maria gives Georgia the less appealing customers and is looking for a chance to get rid of her.

Maria’s other tour guide, Niko (Alistair McGowan), is very popular and offers to make Georgia’s latest tour so miserable that she will quit. Georgia is given an old bus and an uncommunicative hairy bus driver called Poupi Kacas (Alexis Georgoulis). Her group travels in convoy with Niko’s tour and he does everything possible to show her up. Georgia feels that yet again she is doomed to spend four days with tourists who don’t share her interest in Greek history and somehow missing out on life.
This time, however, it’s different. She meets Irv (Richard Dreyfuss), an older member of her group with wisdom and humour who shows her how she can make her tour fun and also regain her own sense of humour. She also finds that there is more to the bus driver than she first thought.

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.

None of concern

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:

  • A tourist attacks Niko for giving him an inappropriate t-shirt and he takes a swing at him and they fall in the pool.

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 are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

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 are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

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:

  • Australian tourists appear to be drinking ‘Fosters Beer’ on and off throughout the movie

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Georgia says she ‘hasn’t had sex in forever’
  • Irv tells her she needs to have more sex
  • When Georgia complains about the price of the postage to the hotel proprietor, he offers to give her a discount if she has sex with him. His approach is particularly sleazy.
  • Poupi touches Georgia’s breast, which she is uncomfortable about.
  • Niko gives one tourist a T-shirt and tells him the words mean ‘I love Greece’. They actually mean ‘Enter at rear end’ so that at one point, much to his horror, he is being chatted up by a couple of gay men.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Georgia and Poupi kiss. The next scene finds them in bed together
  • Georgia walks out of her room wrapped in a sheet and finds Irv at the door of his room with a couple of the women from the tour.

Use of substances

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

  • The Australian tourists drink beer fairly constantly
  • Irv smokes a cigar
  • The tour group drink alcohol at an evening function

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and putdowns in this movie, including:

  • ‘ass’, ‘arsehole’, dick, ‘crap’

In a nutshell

My Life in Ruins is a romantic comedy focusing on the importance of relaxing and listening to yourself and others. It is only by doing this that you can fully enjoy life.

Values in the movie which parents may wish to reinforce with their children include

  • friendship
  • acceptance of others
  • tolerance and looking beyond appearance
  • optimism

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the real life consequences of shoplifting. Constant shoplifting by one elderly tourist is played for comedy in the film.

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