Australian Council on Children and the Media

Poms

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Not recommended under 13; parental guidance to 15 (Adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Poms
  • a review of Poms completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 May 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not Recommended.
Children over the age of 13 Parental guidance recommended.

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: Poms
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language.
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Martha (Dianne Keaton) moves into Sun Springs Retirement Village to spend her last days there. She’s dying from cancer, but she doesn’t want anyone to know this. Sun Springs is run by the officious and small-minded Vicki (Celia Weston) who insists that all residents belong to a club of their choice. Martha doesn’t want to join any of the existing craft clubs, choirs or golfing clubs and so, with her fun-loving neighbour Sheryl (Jacki Weaver) they form a cheerleading club. Vicki and her narrow circle object to the cheerleading club on the grounds of immorality but Martha and Sheryl manage to find six other women who are prepared to flout the Village rules. These women, most of whom have mobility issues, go on to compete against girls of a much younger age, to the astonishment and enjoyment of audiences.

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 and dying; aging; ageism

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 verbal and psychological violence (bullying), and some physical violence in this movie including:

  • A high school cheerleading squad makes fun of Martha’s group and are quite nasty to them. They video their poor performance and post it onto Facebook. At one point, one of the girls tells them ‘to break a hip’. Sheryl replies with ‘get pregnant’.
  • One of the ladies, Helen, falls during the performance and breaks her ankle. The younger girls laugh at this.
  • Helen has a son called Tom who controls her finances. He gets angry with Martha and Sheryl and refuses to let her take part (he’s worried about the money not her health). Sheryl stands up to him and yells at him.
  • Sheryl smashes Tom’s car window with a rock.
  • Helen gives Tom ‘the finger’.

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.

  • Aside from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing particularly scary for this age group.

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, for example:

  • Helen’s son Tom is a large intimidating man who is quick to anger.

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:

  • Martha tells Vicki she came to Sun Springs to die.
  • Sheryl takes Martha to a funeral to get a free lunch. They view the dead body in the coffin.
  • Martha watches an advert for funerals on the television. This is advertising that the ashes can be sent up into the sky in a firework display. At the end of the movie a firework display is shown signalling that Martha has died.
  • Alice had a controlling husband who wouldn’t let her do anything. He says she can join the cheerleading club ‘over his dead body’. The next scene shows that he’s died, and a funeral takes place. Alice is in mourning but also secretly pleased. Later Sheryl says Alice ‘should’ve killed her husband years ago’.

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.

  • Martha is frequently seen throwing up in the toilet.
  • Martha is admitted to hospital where she tells Sheryl that she’s dying. She cries and says she’s scared to die. Sheryl cries with her.
  • Martha collapses on her front lawn (she dies).

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Sprite

Sexual references

There are quite a lot of sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Sheryl says, ‘Lord knows there’s not enough erections around here’.
  • The security officer asks if somebody is getting raped.
  • Sheryl (a relief teacher) shows a video to the students about STD’s. She says, ‘sex can be fun, but you have to be careful’. The video shows couples under the sheets.
  • When asked why they didn’t get first place in a competition, one of the ladies says that ‘the winner had sex with the judge’.
  • Someone says that ‘anyone who wants to be a cheerleader at their age is either a slut or a whore or probably both’.
  • Someone says, ‘shouldn’t you be giving a football player a hand job’.
  • Sheryl says she had Chlamydia.
  • Sheryl says she was caught handing out prophylactics in the girls’ bathroom.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • There is no nudity or sexual activity in this movie.

Use of substances

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

  • Quite a lot of drinking of alcohol in various places: at home, in lounges, in clubs and at parties.
  • A woman says she’s going to start smoking reefers.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God
  • Shit
  • Shut up
  • Jesus Christ
  • Bitch
  • Bullshit
  • Screw it
  • Badass
  • Arse
  • Goddamn
  • Go to hell
  • Dickhead

In a nutshell

Poms is a comedy/drama that shows that older people can still have fun and enjoy themselves. It challenges the perception of old people sitting around, doing nothing and generally living a dull life. It also challenges narrow-minded concepts in a humorous way. Due to its subject matter however, it isn’t recommended for children under 13.

The main messages from this movie are that you can still enjoy yourself as you grow old and life doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age.

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

  • The importance of friendship
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Courage

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

  • The controlling behaviour of some people such as Alice’s husband and Helen’s son. Also, the fact that many older people suffer financial abuse at the hands of their children.
  • The consequences of ageism.

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