Australian Council on Children and the Media

Rams

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Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 11 (heavy adult themes, distressing scenes, some violence, coarse language, and problematic alcohol use)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Rams
  • a review of Rams completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 October 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to heavy adult themes, distressing scenes, some violence, coarse language, and problematic alcohol use.
Children aged 9–11 Parental guidance recommended due to heavy adult themes, distressing scenes, some violence, coarse language, and problematic alcohol use. Also, likely to lack interest for this age group.
Children aged 12 and over Ok for this age group but may lack interest for pre-teen/teen audiences.

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: Rams
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, violence and coarse language
Length 115 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In the remote Western Australian community of Mount Barker, two brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), live and raise sheep alongside each other, but due to family feuds they have not spoken to each other in decades. Their lives are turned upside down when Les' award-winning ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal disease, and the entire community is ordered to destroy their flocks. The brothers have very different ways of dealing with this threat to their very existence. Will they be able to eventually overcome their differences and assert the survival of their prized family bloodline?

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 drama; Dark comedy; Australian country life; Family feuds.

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:

  • When Les is drunk, he fires gun shots at Colin's house – it is only down to luck that Colin stays unharmed.
  • Les verbally threatens Colin on numerous occasions.
  • Les hits a shovel over a Department of Agriculture employee's head, knocking him out.

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:

  • Colin feels the duty to put down his beloved sheep himself. He kills them with a gunshot to the head. This is a highly emotionally intense and sad scene. The audience does not see the actual killing, but the first gunshot is heard.
  • After killing all his sheep, Colin is covered in blood stains, and washing his hands that are covered in blood. He is violently shaking and crying.
  • The sheep carcasses are seen piled up in the shed, and then in a ditch getting burned.

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, including the following:

  • Les is not in his right mind when he is drunk, and even goes as far as firing gunshots at his brother.
  • The above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

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 above-mentioned scenes are likely to scare or disturb some children in this age group.

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.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • A beer brand.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A couple of puns when talking about a ram’s reproductive tasks (e.g. "He will be a busy boy").
  • Another pun when a vet is examining the rams face and tells her apprentice: "We like it rough and a little bit loose", and one breeder says, "Don't we all."
  • A few close-up shots of the ram's large scrotum, and people feeling it with their hand.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Les is seen in his jocks.

Use of substances

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

  • Frequent social drinking
  • Les has a severe drinking problem: he starts the day with pouring whiskey in his coffee.
  • Les is not in his right mind when he is drunk, and even goes as far as firing gunshots at his brother.
  • Les is so drunk that he collapses and gets a terrible sunburn.
  • Les is found unconscious and needs to be hospitalised. He is told to stay in hospital for about a week to deal with alcohol withdrawal.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Sneaky bastard
  • Weak prick
  • Bugger
  • Shit
  • Bloody ...
  • Bullshit
  • Shut up
  • Arse
  • Bastard
  • Idiot.

In a nutshell

Rams is an Australian re-interpretation of the Icelandic drama film Rams (2015) by Grímur Hákonarson. Directed by Jeremy Sims and starring Australian icons, Sam Neill and Michael Caton, this family/community comedy drama gives a touching insight into the lives of two estranged brothers and the wider farming and Australian country town community. The serious themes, comedic subtleties, and a relatively slow pace will likely appeal most to a mature adult audience. Emotionally distressing themes, use of violence, coarse language, and alcohol make this film unsuitable for an audience under 9 and parental guidance is recommended for children under 12.

The main message from this movie is that pride, defiance and holding a grudge can easily get in the way of your own happiness.

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

  • Passion
  • Personal growth
  • Forgiveness
  • Focusing on what's important
  • Friendship
  • Community.

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

  • Maladaptive coping strategies like substance use and aggression.

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