Australian Council on Children and the Media

Rachel Getting Married

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 due to themes and drug references.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Rachel Getting Married
  • a review of Rachel Getting Married completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 February 2009.

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: Rachel Getting Married
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Consumer advice lines Coarse language, mature themes and a brief sex scene
Length 113 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Kym (Anne Hathaway) returns home from a rehab centre to help celebrate her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. Kym is consumed with guilt, self-loathing and pity, partially due to her dysfunctional family and mainly due to a tragic event that she caused earlier in her life, while driving under the influence. Kym finds it difficult to move outside her own problems and contribute in any positive way to the coming event.  Instead, her attention-seeking behaviour causes a high level of friction and raises unresolved family animosities.

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.

Drug and alcohol addiction; death caused by driving under the influence; dysfunctional families.

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:

  • a lot of verbal fighting and accusations of blame.
  • Kym and her mother have a very bad fight which ends with each of them hitting the other.
  • Kym deliberately crashes her car in anger and desperation.

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 tragedy of the death of Kym’s younger brother Ethan, while she was driving the car.

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.

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.

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:

  • The tragedy of the death of Kym’s younger brother Ethan, while she was driving the car.

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.

  • Children in this age group could be disturbed by the graphic portrayal of a young woman whose life has been destroyed by drugs and alcohol.
  • Kym accuses her mother of failing in her responsibilities as a parent by leaving her in charge of her younger brother, knowing she was taking drugs. The interaction between mother and daughter is quite disturbing.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • some suggestive comments made during the speeches.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • a brief sex scene between Kym and the Best Man.

Use of substances

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

  • Kym smokes constantly
  • drinking at home
  • references to Kym’s drug and alcohol addiction

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck
  • Oh my God
  • Jesus Christ
  • Shit

In a nutshell

Rachel Getting Married is a perceptive look at family relationships and problems but is most suited to viewers over 15. The acting is superb but some viewers might find the filming with a hand-held camera problematic.
The main message from this movie is the destructive effect that drugs and alcohol can have on a person’s life.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include the importance and strength of families through good and bad times.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with older children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as the need to solve problems before they spiral out of control.

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