Australian Council on Children and the Media

Nacho Libre

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Viol. Theme)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nacho Libre
  • a review of Nacho Libre completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to frequent violence and theme.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended.
Children over the age of 13 Most children over the age of thirteen could see this film with or without parental guidance.

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: Nacho Libre
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild comedic violence
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Brother Ignacio (Jack Black) a.k.a. Nacho grows up in an impoverished orphanage in Mexico where he dreams of becoming a Lucha Libre (fighter) complete with tights, cape and mask. He spends hours trying to make his dream a reality but in the end winds up cooking mush from a stock of rotten vegetables because the orphanage can’t afford anything better. Ridiculed and berated by the other priests because of he is different and inefficient Ignacio decides to take matters into his own hands to gain a little respect.

He decides to participate in La Lucha Libre, a free fighting match to raise money for food for the orphans and in the process he hopes to win the affection of the beautiful nun Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera). In order to make it to the top Ignacio enlists the help of Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez) a homeless thief with a mean left hook. Together they push themselves to the limit, trying everything they can think of to improve their chances in the ring, but without much success. In fact they come off as being so ridiculous that they are actually paid to lose. At first the money is great, but soon Ignacio’s self-respect begins to suffer and he determines to show the world that he is as capable as any professional Lucha Libre. In the process of fighting to win Ignacio loses sight of what he is fighting for and comes very close to losing everything he holds dear.

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.

Professional wrestling

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 priest punches Ignacio in the face.
  • a girl gets smashed in the head with a door.
  • Ignacio and Esqueleto fight over a bag of orphan chips.
  • Ignacio smears cow poo across Esqueleto’s face.
  • Ignacio throws a beehive at Esqueleto. Bees then begin to chase and sting him.
  • Sister Encarnacion has to break up a fight between the boys at the orphanage.
  • numerous fight scenes. Some of the most violent incidents occur repeatedly in the ring where people are pushed, pulled, punched, kicked, shoved, tackled, bashed, head-butted, thrown out of the ring, thrashed with objects, body-slammed, strangled and bitten.
  • Fighters also repeatedly have their heads jumped on, their groins stomped on and Esqueleto has tufts of hair ripped or bitten off his skull a number of times.
  • a famous fighter named Ramses shoves Ignacio to the ground in front of the children after he has asked for an autograph
  • a man slashes Ignacio’s tyres and then turns the knife on him
  • Ignacio starts a street fight with two men while trying to impress Encarnacion. He winds up with a bruised cheekbone.

Parents are reminded that over-exposure to comedic violence can lead young children to believe that violence doesn’t hurt.

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:

  • Ignacio and Esqueleto must fight a pair of midget men that look and act more animal than human. They have wild, bushy hair, cavemen type clothing and emit howling and snarling sounds as they attack. Their savage appearance could certainly frighten many young children.
  • in the church the camera zooms in on a rough, wooden depiction of Jesus on the cross. It shows blood and focuses on his face which appears distorted with a strange, almost creepy, expression.

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.

Another scene that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight is when Ignacio and Esqueleto find a man with a knife slashing their tyres. The man threatens Ignacio and there are a tense few minutes before Esqueleto stabs the knife holder’s accomplice with his skewered corncob, lodging it in the man’s eye socket. While the scene was over fairly quickly, it is quite grisly and some children could be disturbed by a father figure being threatened in that way.

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.

The above mentioned scenes could also scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, particularly at the lower end of the age bracket. Some children in this age group may be confused by a nun being treated as a sexual object.

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.

It is unlikely that this film would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • one of the priests gives Sister Encarnacion a sexy look as he introduces her to the boys. Many suggestive eye waggles are directed at Sister Encarnacion throughout the film.
  • Ignacio tackles Esqueleto to the ground and while lying on top of him says “I need a man.” Esqueleto interprets this the wrong way and screams at him to get off.
  • Ignacio suggestively asks Sister Encarnacion if she wants to join him, late at night, in his room for some… toast.
  • a local girl eyes Esqueleto at a party and makes all sorts of lusty, sighing sounds for him. Later she follows him upstairs and tells him that many girls believe that wrestlers make bad lovers but that she still loves him. She then tries to pull him into a tunnel with her.
  • Ignacio strikes a number of “sexy” poses and on one occasion huskily tells Encarnacion that ‘under the clothes lie a man and under the man lies a nucleus…’ he trails off while trying to impress her with his spandex and clenched buttocks.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Ignacio and the other wrestlers do not wear shirts. The female wrestlers wear what appear to be skimpy leotards.
  • Ignacio is seen running through a field with half of his buttocks exposed.

Use of substances

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

  • men are seen smoking cigars.
  • wine is served at a party and a wrestler deliberately pours a glass over Nacho’s blouse.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • crap
  • ass
  • Hell.

In a nutshell

Nacho Libre is a comedy combining a good deal of bathroom humour with an extremely predictable storyline. The film will most likely appeal to adolescent boys and Jack Black fans. The main messages from this movie are that everybody has a purpose and a destiny and that although sometimes something may seem impossible, with a little determination and a little faith even the under dog can come out on top. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include persistence, faith and determination.

Parents could also discuss with their children the real-life consequences, of wrestling and fighting and of acting selfishly and putting our own wants before other people’s needs.  They could also discuss other ways that Ignacio’s goals could have been achieved without the use of violence.

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