Australian Council on Children and the Media

Opal Dream

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Viol. Themes. Scary scenes. Lang.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Opal Dream
  • a review of Opal Dream completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, themes, scary scenes and language.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended
Children over the age of 13 Should be ok to see this movie 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: Opal Dream
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, Mild violence, Mild coarse language
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Kellyanne Williamson (Sapphire Boyce) lives in the small outback town of Coober Pedy with her mother Annie (Jacqueline Mackenzie) who works at a local grocery store; her father Rex (Vince Colosimo) who is doing his best to mine opals (but without any success); and an older brother Ashmol (Christian Byers) who is utterly humiliated by his sister’s close association with two imaginary friends Pobby and Dingan.

Kellyanne doesn’t see what all the fuss is about and takes Pobby and Dingan everywhere. In an effort to help Kellyanne distance herself from her imaginary friends, and in the hope that she will make some real ones, her father offers to take Pobby and Dingan out mining with him for the day. Upon returning that night it appears that Pobby and Dingan are missing. Terribly distraught Kellyanne orders her father to take her back to the mine in order to find them. Rex looks everywhere and in the process is accused of stealing from someone else’s claim. Overnight the town turns against the Williamson family and Kellyanne comes down with a mystery illness, meanwhile Pobby and Dingan are still missing. In the hopes of helping his sister recover, Ashmol enlists the help of the entire town in the search for Pobby and Dingan.

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.

Family conflict, Death and loss

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:

  • Ashmol pretends to shoot at Pobby and Dingan as they flee to their house. Kellyanne taunts him: “Their house is bullet proof.”
  • Ashmol and Rex make and detonate their own explosives. Unfortunately half their mine collapses, nearly killing Rex and apparently (as we learn later) killing Pobby and Dingan.
  • Rex is threatened with a gun in front of his kids. A struggle ensues and the gun goes off. We later see that the gun’s owner was shot in the foot.
  • a mob hangs a dummy of a man from a tree, with a sign that reads ‘Ratter’
  • the same mob throws some sort of explosive device into the Williamsons’ yard, which causes the trailer that Kellyanne used as a home for Pobby and Dingan to burst into flames
  • Rex goes to sort things out with the men who threatened him and is beaten to the ground as Ashmol watches on
  • Local kids tie a dead rat to the front of Ashmol’s bike and call him a ratter

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.

The above-mentioned violent scenes, could disturb under 5s, in particular the scene in which Rex is threatened with a gun. It is the middle of the night when the gun is thrust in Rex’s face and the children, who are watching the scene unfold, are clearly terrified. The miner with the gun looks angry and evil. The look on the miner’s face, the children’s fear and the intensity of the scene could scare some young viewers.

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, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • when Ashmol and his dad detonate the explosives at the mine it takes a few minutes for Rex to come back up and there are a tense few minutes where Ashmol is clearly worried after having heard the mine collapse
  • when the explosives are thrown into the front yard, Kellyanne watches her playhouse go up in flames. She stares in shock at a dark figure dangling from a noose and, while not hysterical, is clearly disturbed by the images and physically becomes much sicker.
  • it is the middle of the night when Ashmol agrees to go back down the mineshaft to look for Pobby and Dingan. He is clearly scared about running into the miner again and is very nervous as he climbs down into the dark tunnel. There are many creaking and clanking sounds that lend a creepy, eeriness to the scene. As he searches through the rubble his own breathing is shallow and scared as he finds something (we are later told their bodies) and collects evidence to show Kellyanne.

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.

There are no other scenes in this movie that would upset children of this age, but some of the scenes described above could be scary for some children at the younger end of this age group or for those susceptible to its themes.

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

None

Nudity and sexual activity

There is one scene in which Rex and Annie start passionately kissing in the living room, and are then later it shown in bed, apparently naked, and under a sheet. Rex kisses Annie again before the scene fades into darkness

Use of substances

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

  • beer was consumed throughout the movie and numerous references made to it
  • an assortment of alcoholic beverages was consumed in a bar, in which patrons were also smoking.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • hell
  • ‘friggin’
  • piss off.

In a nutshell

Opal Dream is a somewhat slow-paced drama based on the book Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice. It will appeal to fans of the book, lovers of the outback and others who relate to the movie’s theme.

The main messages from this movie are that it is important to have a dream and that when you believe in something it is real, regardless of whether or not other people see what you see.

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

  • loyalty
  • selflessness
  • helpfulness
  • compassion.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.
taking action based on gossip, without making an effort to ascertain the truth.
accusing someone without proof
using violence as a means to solve problems or seek revenge.

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