Australian Council on Children and the Media

Take Home Pay

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Short takes

Not recommended under 10, parental guidance 10 to 13 (frequent physical fighting scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Take Home Pay
  • a review of Take Home Pay completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 September 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to frequent violence (Samoan martial arts) and frequent Samoan language with English subtitles
Children aged 10–13 Parental guidance recommended due to frequent violence
Children over the age of 13 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: Take Home Pay
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence and coarse language
Length 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Two brothers, Alama (Vito Aofaga Vito) and Popo (Longi Taulafo), work hard at their family's plantation in rural Samoa. Tired of their grumpy father's authoritarian style and earning little money, they set off to New Zealand as seasonal workers. At the end of a successful season of picking kiwi fruit, Alama wakes up to find that Popo has run away – and taken all of their money. Desperate not to return home empty-handed, Alama seeks help from his local Samoan relative, Bob Titilo (Tofiga Fepulea'i). Bob is in his 40s, unemployed and still lives with his mum but he is a self-declared "private investigator" and is determined to solve the case. His unconventional methods soon lead to an action-laden chase through Auckland and the beginning of an extraordinary friendship.

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.

Coming of age, duty versus fun and adventure, breaking traditions, rebelling against parents, foreign subcultures, traditional Polynesian martial art, self-discovery, friendship, loyalty, community, becoming a better person.

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:

  • Frequent use of traditional Polynesian martial arts to express anger, to solve or avoid problems, to mark dominance and the culture of Polynesian parents' authority over their children; but it is also used as part of practising self-discipline and expressing Samoan culture and tradition.
  • Typical fighting moves are twisting arms and hands, punching in the stomach and face, kicking, wrestling, throwing the opponent on the ground, controlled strangle to put opponent to sleep.
  • Alama and Popo's father uses traditional Samoan fighting moves to discipline and punish his sons. He throws heavy objects at them and threatens them with a machete. He also shouts and yells at them.
  • Alama practices his moves as part of daily self-discipline/meditation and expression of his culture.
  • Alama never chooses to attack Popo but tries to engage him in conversation. However, Popo's immaturity and avoidance causes them to fight.
  • People are seen aching and panting but no one is seen seriously injured or bleeding.

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:

  • Bob is seen heavily intoxicated and acting hysterically.

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:

  • Nothing of additional 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.

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:

  • Nothing of additional concern

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.

It is unlikely that children over the age of thirteen will be frightened by this movie.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Samoan Airlines

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Some mild flirtation such as - "If you were a kiwi fruit, I would pick you.", "I'm Irish - I rish you were my girlfriend."
  • Popo being seen hugging two girls.
  • One minor character appears to be a drag queen.
  • The drag queen and two girl friends pull money out of their bras.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Some Samoan men are shown topless and in traditional sarongs, exposing some bare and tattooed skin. However, this is in a traditional/cultural fashion and not in a sexual sense.

Use of substances

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

  • Even though Bob knows he does not tolerate alcohol, he drinks some wine at a wine tasting. He then wanders the streets in an out-of-control state, picking fights with strangers, shouting, hysterically laughing, smashing bottles, trying to hit people and acting very crazy.
  • One of Alama and Popo's Samoan elderly relatives tastes wine for the first time, is blown away by the taste, calls it an "eye-opener", takes the whole bottle and is then seen drinking wine regularly.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • "Stupid"

In a nutshell

Take Home Pay is a heart-warming, upbeat and humorous action comedy with an excellent cast. A large portion of the film is in Samoan with English subtitles and gives a valuable insight into the simple life of traditional Samoan farmers as well as the Samoan/wider Polynesian community in New Zealand. It is a story about two young men going on an adventure which ends up being a journey of self-discovery, evaluation of dreams, and friendship.

The main messages from this movie are that you not only hurt others but also yourself when you are being selfish; that it is never too late to show remorse; and that you can learn from your mistakes to become a better person.

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

  • learning from mistakes
  • family and community cohesion
  • helping one another
  • giving everyone a chance and allowing second chances
  • reaching out for help
  • remorse and forgiveness
  • knowing where one belongs
  • being creative and innovative
  • making the best of one's given circumstances and potential.

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

  • selfishness
  • impulsiveness
  • cowardice
  • teasing and being mean
  • betraying trust
  • running away from responsibility
  • solving problems through fighting.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of:

  • Cultural diversity and peaceful integration of foreign cultures
  • Family, community and friendship
  • The ability to admit when one is wrong and to say sorry
  • The ability to forgive and to let go of grudges.

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