Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Addams Family

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Not suitable under 7; parental guidance to 10 (Violence and themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Addams Family
  • a review of The Addams Family completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 December 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to violence and themes.
Children aged 7–10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes.
Children over the age of 10 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: The Addams Family
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When an angry mob of townspeople crash Morticia (voice of Charlize Theron) and Gomez’s wedding, Gomez (voice of Oscar Isaac) promises to find a place where they can live in peace and safety without having to worry about the wrath of those who do not understand their values or way of life. After the car they are driving accidentally hits Lurch (voice of Conrad Vernon), he leads them to a haunted and derelict insane asylum. The couple are pleased to learn that it is both deserted and isolated and quickly decide to make it their family home. Thirteen years pass while they live in the mist of seclusion on the top of a hill. Unable to see beyond the gates of their property, daughter Wednesday (voice of Chloe Grace Moretz) longs to know what lies beyond. When Margaux Needler (voice of Allison Janney), a reality TV show renovator, revamps the town at the base of the hill, she also drains the swamp and clears the mist that has hidden the Addams’ house from view. Margaux is also determined to renovate the Addams’ home in order to stop the value of her development from falling. However, when her plans go awry and the rest of the Addams family, including Cousin It (voice of Snoop Dog) and Uncle Fester (voice of Nick Kroll), arrive to celebrate Pugsley’s (voice of Finn Wolfhard) coming of age, she decides to turn the whole town against them. Ultimately it is the children who demonstrate to the adults that sometimes our greatest strength lies in our differences.

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; extreme sibling conflict; use of spying; accepted use of stealing and cheating; portrayals of risky behaviour; rebellion; strategic use of weapons; bullying; the pitfalls of social media.

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:

  • Violent mobs with pitch forks and flaming torches crash Morticia and Gomez’s wedding. There is sword fighting and a flaming boulder destroys a bridge before the wedding party manages to flee.
  • Pugsley experiments with a rocket ship which explodes out of the house, nearly kills his father twice and almost crashes into the house before exploding into the sky while Pugsley falls through the greenhouse roof uninjured.
  • Wednesday, who wears her hair in two noose braids, buries her brother alive along with numerous other attempts to end his life.
  • Pugsley throws knives at his sister.
  • Wednesday sleeps in a guillotine with a blade balanced over her neck. A tree branch pulls her out of the window to wake her up just before the guillotine slices down.
  • A school bully puts a rancid sandwich and soda into another girl’s bag. Wednesday, instead of dissecting frogs, creates a room of Frankenstein frogs and sets them all on the bully.
  • Wednesday beheads a doll, puts knives into an electrical socket and sets fire to a tree with a magnifying glass.
  • Cannonballs are blasted through the Addams' mansion and Pugsley shows his skill in detonating explosives when his family is attacked by the townspeople. The house is left in tatters.

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:

  • When Morticia and Gomez first see the old asylum it is full of chalk outlines of murder victims and the walls begin to bleed. A sinister voice suddenly screams, “GET OUT!!”, while the house reverberates. To ‘normal’ people it is both chilling and creepy but the Addams feel right at home. The voice is angry, menacing and loud and likely to scare young children.
  • Lurch looks terribly creepy and often scares the townsfolk by simply looking at them. Some of the other characters are sinister-looking and may frighten very young viewers.

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:

  • Aside from the above-mentioned scenes there is nothing of additional concern that would likely frighten children between the ages of five to eight.

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.

  • It is unlikely that children over the age of eight would be frightened by this movie.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • No official product was noted in the film however there is off screen merchandise available on-line and in some stores.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When Gomez’s mother comes to visit, she is infatuated with Lurch and says to Morticia: “When you’re done with Fabio send him up to my room…”. She gives him a suggestive look and he rolls his eyes.
  • The word “pimp” is part of a Snoop Dog song that plays as Cousin It arrives at the house.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Gomez and Morticia are passionately in love. They are shown in a variety of scenes kissing and embracing as well as slow dancing on occasion.
  • Uncle Fester is blown out of the bathroom while taking a bath. He lands in the middle of the living room still in the tub. Nudity is implied but audiences only see his bare chest.

Use of substances

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

  • There is a wedding tradition that involves putting lime into a coconut and drinking it in order to seal the marriage ceremony. It is unclear whether or not alcohol is part of the drink.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Multiple insults used throughout, such as: “Monsters!” “Freak,” “Weirdo,” “Ghoul,” and “Lemmings.”

In a nutshell

The Addams Family is a macabre animation. While not particularly scary there are a number of creepy scenes and some potentially influential, dangerous messages that parents should be aware of. This film will best be enjoyed by older children and slightly more mature audiences.

The main messages from this movie are to be true to yourself and to acknowledge and develop personal talents even when they do not conform to normal parameters or traditions.

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

  • Empathy
  • Unconditional love
  • Teamwork
  • Friendship
  • Acceptance, tolerance and understanding of differences.

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

  • Shooting people with arrows or trying to stab them with knives
  • Playing with weapons and explosives
  • Spying on others
  • Starting rumours on social media
  • Trying out violent and potentially life-threatening tricks on siblings
  • There are some very questionable messages that feature in the film, such as that robbery and cheating are both OK, as long as you don’t get caught, which parents may wish to correct with their kids.

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