Australian Council on Children and the Media

Over the Moon

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Short takes

Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 9 (sad themes (loss of a parent and grief))

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Over the Moon
  • a review of Over the Moon completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 October 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to sad themes and mild peril.
Children aged 6–9 Parental guidance recommended due to sad themes. Be aware that this movie contains emotional themes of parental death and re-marrying.
Children over the age of 9 Ok for this age group but parents should be aware of the themes: parental death/ re-marrying.

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: Over the Moon
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence.
Length 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Fei Fei (voice of Cathy Ang) lives with her mother (voice of Ruthie Ann Miles) and father (voice of John Cho) in an idyllic Chinese village. They own a bakery and are busy preparing delicious mooncakes for the upcoming moon festival. Fei Fei loves it when her mother tells her the beautiful legend of Chang’e, the moon goddess who took a magic immortality potion and was banished for eternity to live on the moon, leaving her true love Houyi behind. Fei Fei’s mother becomes ill and passes away, leaving her daughter the gift of a soft white rabbit. Jumping several years in the future, Fei Fei is now a young teenager and her father is starting to form a relationship with another woman (voice of Sandra Oh) and her annoying eight-year-old son (voice of Robert G. Chiu). Fei Fei feels deeply hurt, she still misses her mother so much, and tries to think of a way to stop their relationship going further. Using her scientific talents, Fei Fei designs a rocket to take her to the moon. She thinks that if she can prove that the legend of Chang’e is real, then she can convince her father that true love is eternal. Here the movie takes on a whole new character as Fei Fei, her little rabbit and her annoying eight-year-old ‘stepbrother’ zoom into a cosmic wonderland where Chang’e (voice of Phillipa Soo) appears as a pop diva with a sharp tongue, surrounded by thousands of cute, luminescent, and psychedelic moon creatures. In this alternate universe, Fei Fei and her ‘stepbrother’ learn many important lessons about love, grief and moving on.

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.

Death of a parent; Grief and Loss; Chinese culture and mythology; Space adventure; New parent relationships.

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 very mild slapstick violence in this movie including:

  • The young boy keeps running into walls as he tries to climb them.
  • Some bumps and falls.

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:

  • The death of Fei Fei’s mother is implied and not shown explicitly, but it still leads to some very emotional moments (several sad scenes throughout the film) as memories are revisited and tears are shed.
  • There are several scenes where the characters seem to be in danger, and it is tense. For example, the rocket ship plunges through space and someone shouts “We are going to die!”. The rocket then starts to shatter into pieces, and they are saved by giant flying dragons; Fei Fei gets caught between two large floating platforms and nearly disappears.
  • The character of Chang’e is initially not very nice and seems quite cruel. She takes the young boy into something called the “interrogation chamber”. However, she does transform into a caring character at the end of the film.
  • Chang’e finds her lover but he is transparent and ghost-like and disappears in front of her. She is devastated and cries.
  • Fei Fei gets trapped, floating in space with the ghost-like figure of Chang’e floating around her. Her friends can see her, but not reach her. It is quite an eerie and emotional scene.

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:

  • Children in this age group may be more sensitive to the theme of losing your mother and the challenge of accepting the new relationships of parents. For children who have personal experience of either loss or parental separation, this theme could be particularly sensitive.

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:

  • Children in this age group may also be sensitive to the theme of losing your mother and the challenge of accepting the new relationships of parents. For children who have personal experience of either loss or parental separation, this theme could be particularly emotional.

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 romantic references in this movie, including:

  • There are some meaningful glances between Fei Fei’s father and his new girlfriend.
  • The rabbits seem to be slightly attracted to each other.
  • There is a love story between Chang’e and her lost love Houyi. They embrace and look longingly at each other.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • When Chang’e is performing her pop song she wears tight/sexy clothing and unrealistically high-heeled shoes.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Ding Bat
  • Butt
  • Poo.

In a nutshell

Over the Moon is an animated musical fantasy that weaves traditional Chinese mythology around the story of a young girl overcoming the loss of her mother and accepting that love can expand and include others too. It can be a little confusing at times, especially when there is a big change in the second half of the film and we jump from a beautiful Chinese village to a psychedelic cosmic universe. However, children are likely to enjoy the cute, bright animation, the sweet songs and the positive messages about love and family.

The main messages from this movie are that our hearts can expand to love more people than we thought, and that it is important to let go of grief.

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

  • Inventiveness and creativity.
  • Determination.
  • Compassion.
  • The importance of family.
  • The pleasure of sharing food.

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

  • How does it feel when your parent/parents begin new relationships? Do you think Fei Fei dealt with her Father’s new relationship well?

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