Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pollyanna

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Short takes

Suitable for all age groups though may lack interest for children under 6.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pollyanna
  • a review of Pollyanna completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 August 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Ok for this age group though may lack interest.
Children aged 6 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.

Name of movie: Pollyanna
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: The content is very mild in impact.
Length 134 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After the death of her parents, 12 year-old missionary daughter, Pollyanna (Hayley Mills), is sent to live with her rich but reserved aunt Polly Harrington (Jane Wyman). Aunt Polly takes pride in the fact that the town of Harrington was named after her father, and Pollyanna soon finds out that her aunt is unofficially running the town, by owning most of the businesses and making generous donations. At the same time, Aunt Polly makes sure that everything is done her way. She even dictates the town's reverend (Karl Malden) what to cover in his sermons, who consequently reminds the congregation every Sunday of their sinfulness and the wrath of God – making everyone dread Sundays. It is Pollyanna's curious, friendly, and positive approach to life and open-minded approach to every single member of the community that slowly but surely brings change to the people of Harrington. But will Pollyanna also be able to soften Aunt Polly's heart, to teach her to love and be loved, and ultimately help her to be re-united with her ex-boyfriend, Dr. Chilton (Richard Egan)?

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; positive approach to life; open-mindedness; seeing the good in people; love; friendship.

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.

No violence was noted in this movie.

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:

  • When Pollyanna is not allowed to join a community event she secretly sneaks out. When trying to climb back up a tree and into her room in the attic, Pollyanna slips and briefly holds on to the gutter. The actual fall is not depicted but Pollyanna can be heard screaming and is then shown lying on the ground, motionless, with her leg in a twisted angle. In that moment it is not clear whether Pollyanna is going to survive.
  • The fall causes Pollyanna a serious back injury and she is unable to move her legs. Consequently, she falls into a severely depressed state and it is not clear until later in the film that a surgery can probably restore her ability to walk.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

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.

  • It is unlikely that any scenes in this movie could scare or disturb children in this age group.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Based on Eleanor H. Porter's 1913 novel, Pollyanna is a classic Disney family movie, offering wonderful family entertainment, even 60 years after it was first released. It is beautiful to see the positive developments and transformations of many of the characters during the course of the movie, as Pollyanna teaches them her so-called "glad game" – finding something to be glad about in every situation.

The main messages from this movie are that it is important to always look for the good in people; to focus on things to be glad about when faced with challenging situations; and that true happiness and joy can be derived from opening up ones heart for love.

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

  • taking a positive approach to life
  • advancing people with an open mind
  • look for the good in people and situations
  • discovering the beauty in little things
  • allowing oneself to be vulnerable and opening one's heart.

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

  • Being so scared of getting hurt that one misses out on the opportunity to experience genuine joy and love.
  • Furthermore, the scene of Pollyanna falling and severely injuring herself, because she was being secretive and taking an unnecessary risk, can give parents the opportunity to think about how they can foster a relationship of openness and trust with their children, to avoid the temptation to do things in secret and behind their parents' back – which can lead to much more harm and danger than openly discussing options.

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