Australian Council on Children and the Media

New Mutants, The

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Not suitable under 13; parental guidance to 14 (violence, horror themes, sad themes (death of parent), disturbing and scary scenes and characters, coarse language, and sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for New Mutants, The
  • a review of New Mutants, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 September 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, horror themes, sad themes (death of parent), disturbing and scary scenes and characters, coarse language, and sexual references.
Children aged 13–14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, horror themes, sad themes (death of parent), disturbing and scary scenes and characters, coarse language, and sexual references.
Children over the age of 14 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: New Mutants, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Horror themes, violence and coarse language
Length 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After a mysterious and terrifying incident at her reservation, Native American teenager Danielle "Dani" Moonstar (Blu Hunt), regains consciousness, finding herself at a hospital run by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga). Dr. Reyes tells Dani that her village was hit by a tornado and she is the only survivor. Dr. Reyes also explains that Dani survived because she is not an ordinary human, but a mutant with incredible powers that she has yet to identify and learn to control. There are four other "new mutants" at the institution, each of whom have suffered trauma and caused some sort of mayhem when their mutant powers first unfolded: Rahne (Maisie Williams), who can transform into a wolf; Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy), equipped with teleportation and sorcery powers; Roberto (Henry Saga) who can manipulate solar energy; and Samuel (Charlie Heaton), with the power and speed of a cannonball. Not long after Dani's arrival, the other new mutants start to experience horrifying visions, confronting each of them with their darkest secrets and worst nightmares. There is growing suspicion among the new mutants that Dr. Reyes is not telling them the truth, and they are held captive not for their own good and to be trained to become X-Men, but to fulfill some mysterious, dark purpose.

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.

X-Men series; Horror; Fantasy; Science Fiction; Action; Superheroes; Teenage angst.

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 a lot of violence in this movie – both depicted, and implied – including:

  • A mysterious, demon-like creature violently destroys Dani's village. It is implied that it killed everyone but her.
  • Illyana attacks Dani with her sword on numerous occasions and they violently fight each other.
  • Rahne reveals that she mauled and killed the reverend who branded her as a witch.
  • The reverend returns in a horrifying vision, attacks Rahne, and burns her neck with a branding iron.
  • Samuel reflects on accidentally killing his father and his mining team when he lost control over his mutant powers.
  • Illyana brags that she killed 18 men.
  • It is implied that Illyana was abused (presumably sexually) by mysterious men wearing masks, referred to as the ‘Smile Men’.
  • The ‘Smile Men’ return in a vision, attack Illyana and the other mutants, and eventually get killed in various ways.
  • Roberto relives the horrifying moments when he accidentally scorched his girlfriend to death, and in the vision the burning corpse is attacking him.
  • Dr. Reyes is about to euthanise Dani just before she is stopped by Rahne.
  • Rahne mauls Dr. Reyes, causing severe slashing injuries to her face and body.
  • Dr. Reyes captures all new mutants in impenetrable energy fields and wants to crush/suffocate Dani.
  • Demon Bear – a giant demon-like bear – kills Dr. Reyes and attacks the other mutants who use their mutant powers to fight him.

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:

  • A dead body comes flying through the air and lands in front of Dani who screams in terror.
  • Dani is attacked by a giant black fog creature with red glowing eyes and sharp teeth.
  • Roberto has a terrible vision/flashback of when he accidentally scorched his girlfriend to death.
  • Illyana's abusers, the ‘Smile Men’, are scary men-like monsters without eyes, grimacing mouths with terrible sharp teeth and overly long fingers with sharp claws.
  • Demon bear, the giant monster bear that represents Dani's fear, is vicious and terrifying.
  • In general, there are frequent horror-themed and disturbing scenes, and characters are seen terrified and fearing for their lives.

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:

  • There is a lot of personal loss:
    • Dani and Sam have lost their fathers (and there is no mention of Dani's mother, so she is presumed absent or dead);
    • Roberto has lost his girlfriend;
    • All new mutants have been permanently separated from their families and friends.

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:

  • There is a lot of personal drama and a continuous theme of guilt:
    • It turns out that it was not a tornado but Dani's mutant powers getting out of control that killed her father and wiped out the entire village;
    • Sam feels guilty for killing his own father and his mining team when his powers got out of control;
    • Roberto accidentally scorched his girlfriend to death;
    • Rahne killed the reverend who branded her as a witch, and continuously feels guilty because her mutant powers are in discord with her strict religious beliefs.
  • Sensitive and attentive viewers might pick up on the hints that Illyana was very likely sexually abused as a young girl.

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

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The new mutants play ‘Truth or Dare’ and ask Roberto how many girls he has been with; later, Illyana teases him by calling him a "virgin".
  • It is implied that Illyana was sexually abused.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Rahne confesses that she masturbated.
  • Roberto and Illyana kiss passionately.
  • Dani and Rahne romantically kiss on several occasions.
  • Dani and Rahne are seen in a communal shower room. Presumably, they are naked, but the viewer only sees their bare, upper backs.
  • In one scene Roberto is naked but he is covering his middle.

Use of substances

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

  • In a party scene, the new mutants consume beverages, however, it is not clear whether it is alcohol.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Asshole
  • Bitch
  • Bullshit
  • Slut.

In a nutshell

The New Mutants is a teenage, fantasy, horror, action movie and the 13th and supposedly final instalment of the X-Men film series. Aimed at a teenage audience, the story follows five young mutants who each deal with traumatic events from their past that continue to haunt them in the present. The film aims to capture the audience with a mix of horror, action, psycho-thriller, and romantic themes. The overall atmosphere of the film is dark, and frequent violence, horror themes, sad themes (death of parent), disturbing and scary scenes and characters, coarse language, and sexual references render it unsuitable for children under 13, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 13 and 14 and sensitive viewers who might get distressed by any of the themes.

The main messages from this movie are that you cannot escape but must face your inner demons and fears; and that you stand stronger united.

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

  • Courage.
  • Confronting your fear.
  • Facing your demons.
  • Compassion.
  • Friendship.
  • Teamwork.

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

  • Trying to use people for your own selfish or ill-guided purposes.

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