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Short takes

Not recommended under 5; parental guidance recommended to 8 (lacks interest for younger viewers and contains some violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Patrick
  • a review of Patrick completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 November 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to lack of interest and some violence
Children 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to lack of interest and some violence
Children 8 and over 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Patrick
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Patrick is a loveable but mischievous pug dog who is bequeathed to Sarah (Beattie Edmondson) by her Grandmother when she dies. Sarah is not a dog lover and has enough troubles with relationships without the responsibility of having to care for a dog. In addition, Sarah lives in a flat with a strict ‘no pet policy’ and she is about to start a new job as an English teacher at a comprehensive school. Nonetheless, she takes on Patrick as a duty to her loved Grandmother until she can find a home for him. Patrick inevitably turns Sarah’s life upside down but proves himself useful while out on walks by introducing her to the owners of other dogs.

Firstly Sarah meets a handsome vet (Ed Skrein) to whom she is instantly attracted, but she discovers he is vain and self-centred. Then she meets Ben (Tom Bennett) but discovers that he is the married parent of one of her students, Vicky (Emilia Jones). Vicky has been having some troubles at home, which have affected her schoolwork. Sarah discovers that Vicky’s mother is leaving with a new boyfriend and that has been really upsetting for Vicky. It does mean, however, that Ben is now a free man. Sarah finds herself juggling her new work and relationships while Patrick works his way into her heart.


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.

Relationships; marriage breakdown

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:

  • Sarah and her boyfriend argue. He wants to leave her as he says he needs some time.
  • Students get into a fight in the school yard

Slapstick violence includes:

  • Sarah chases after Patrick and trips in the park
  • Patrick has been sick in Sarah’s flat and she slips over in it.
  • Sarah falls into a bush and collapses during a 5km fun run.

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:

  • Sarah’s grandmother collapses and dies while out walking Patrick. There is a funeral for her.
  • Patrick chases after a cat and lands on a boat, which pulls out from its mooring. Patrick and Sarah become separated and she’s quite upset that she can’t find him

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.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Thirteen and overinfo

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 of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Corn Flakes
  • Snickers
  • Facebook and Tinder are mentioned
  • Toy Story is shown playing on a TV


Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Sarah asks her students why Mr Rochester (from the book Jane Eyre) is so powerful. One of the students replies “it’s because of his tight trousers”.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Sarah is shown in pants and stockings while getting dressed
  • Sarah is seen in the bath but covered in bubbles.
  • Sarah and Ben kiss briefly.

Use of substances

Social drinking at various events: in a bar; with dinner at a restaurant, and at home.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • blasted; my God; tosser; shut up; bloody; bugger

In a nutshell

Patrick is a romantic comedy that calls on slapstick humour for its laughs. It is light hearted, with no great depth of story, but Patrick will endear himself to most viewers. It is is likely to be most popular with older children and adolescents.

The main messages from this movie are that what initially appears a bad thing can often turn out to be a good thing and that pets can enrich your life.

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

  • compassion and kindness
  • mutual respect

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

  • Sometimes marriages don’t work and although this is very upsetting for children of any age, it can often be better for  parents to separate than to stay unhappily together.