Raising the bar

image for Raising the bar

Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 9, due to themes, scenes of bullying, and the need to read some content.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Raising the bar
  • a review of Raising the bar completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, scenes of bullying, and the need to be able to read text messages and Facebook posts on screen to follow the plot
Children aged 9 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: Raising the bar
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes
Length: 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When sixteen-year-old Kelly (Kelli Berglund) and her mother (Peta Shannon) move from America to Adelaide, Australia, Kelly decides that it’s time to leave the world of elite gymnastics and competition behind her. However, when she starts at a brand-new school, her quirky new friend Nicola (Lilli Karamalikis) needs help getting into the school gymnastics club and Kelly reluctantly agrees to coach her. When the elite team see Kelly in action they realise they might need her to win the upcoming interstate competition.


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.

Elite competition; team-work; friendship; parent separation; teenage romance

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 no physical violence in this movie, but some incidents of bullying behaviour including:

  • Kelly is called names by the other gymnasts, in person and online.

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:

  • Kelly is upset and cries as she tells her mum that she thinks it’s her fault that her parents have separated.
  • Nicola really wants to join the team but she is told many times by a mean girl that she is not good enough. 
  • When Kelly makes a mistake in her floor routine she is devastated and her dad is disappointed in her.

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 of this age may also find above-mentioned scenes disturbing.

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 of this age are unlikely to find anything in this film disturbing

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

  • Mobile phones
  • Facebook

Sexual references

There are mild romantic references in this movie, including:

  • Kelly finds a boy attractive and there are some flirtatious exchanges. He asks her on a date

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild derogatory language in this movie, including:

  • ‘jerk’

In a nutshell

Raising the Bar is a film about navigating the world of teenage friendships and family relationships within the context of a highly competitive sport. It will especially appeal to families who are involved in gymnastics. Parental guidance is recommended under 9 due to the theme of parent separation, scenes of bullying and the need to be able to read text messages and Facebook posts shown on the screen in order to understand the plot.

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

  • being a good friend
  • learning to make your own choices without the help of your parents
  • the importance of team effort

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss bullying and peer pressure with their children.