My Octopus Teacher

image for My Octopus Teacher

Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (depictions of predatory animal behaviour and death)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for My Octopus Teacher
  • a review of My Octopus Teacher completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 March 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to depictions of predatory animal behaviour and animal death.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to depictions of predatory animal behaviour and animal death.
Children over the age of 10 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: My Octopus Teacher
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Predatory Animal Behaviour, Very Mild Coarse Language
Length: 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Craig Foster, a wildlife filmmaker, documents a year spent developing a relationship with a common octopus in a South African underwater kelp forest. As Craig and the octopus get to know each other, he witnesses her life and challenges in the ocean, culminating in her birthing of the next generation of octopuses and her eventual death.

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.

Animal harm and death.

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 noted.

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:

  • Close-ups of octopus tentacles are shown – the moving suckers may distress very young children.
  • Footage of sea creatures is shown – these creatures are often strange and alien-looking and may distress very young children.

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:

  • Predatory animal behaviour in the wild (such as sharks attacking octopus) – this may distress younger children.
  • A pyjama shark is shown eating one of the octopus’ arms after it attacked her.
  • The octopus is shown with a severed limb as it struggles to return to its den after a shark attack.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • The octopus appears to be dying after a shark attack and has lost its colour – this is likely to distress some children.
  • Craig is shown swimming in the ocean at night and describes being nervous – this may worry younger children.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Sony video camera.
  • Aqua Lung scuba mask.
  • Oceanic diving flippers.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Craig is filmed swimming shirtless for much of the film.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Hell.

In a nutshell

My Octopus Teacher is a wildlife documentary by Craig Foster with beautiful footage of ocean life and a compelling story about the short life of an octopus. This film will likely entertain children 11 and older, as well as younger children with a specific interest in wildlife, however, the film is not suitable for children under 8 and parental guidance is recommended for 8 to 10-year olds due to depictions of predatory animal behaviour and animal death.

The main messages from this movie are the transience of life and nature; and that Humans are part of the natural world and should work to protect and value it.

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

  • Protecting and respecting the environment.

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

  • The importance of not interfering with animals in the wild.
  • The importance of practising self-care when experiencing hard times.