Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Secret: Dare to Dream

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Not suitable under 6; not recommended under 10 (adult themes (this is not a children’s film), mild tension and emotional scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Secret: Dare to Dream
  • a review of The Secret: Dare to Dream completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 August 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to adult themes, mild tension and emotional scenes, and some mild language.
Children aged 6–10 Not recommended due to adult themes, emotional scenes and lack of interest.
Children over the age of 10 OK for this age group but may lack interest for children due to adult themes.

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 Secret: Dare to Dream
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length 147 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Secret: Dare to Dream is a film based on the positive thinking philosophies found in the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The film stars Katie Holmes as Miranda Wells, a young widow with three children who is struggling to make ends meet following the death of her husband. One fateful night, as the town is preparing for a dangerous tropical storm, Miranda bumps into the car in front of her. When she gets out to inspect the damage, she meets Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) who insists on helping her fix the bumper on her car. After the ferocious storm crashes a tree through her roof, Bray is there again the next morning with the offer of fixing it for her. Although Miranda is confused and a little suspicious of Bray’s motives, she can’t afford to turn him down and his positive spin on life starts to bring light and happiness into their lives. However, it turns out that Bray hasn’t just turned up by accident; he actually has a secret which could change their lives forever.

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.

Natural disaster; Death of a father and spouse; Romance; Positive thinking and affirmation; Financial hardship.

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:

  • In frustration, Miranda kicks the bumper of her car violently and repeatedly.
  • Miranda slaps Bray in the face when she is angry with him and then shoves him roughly in the chest.

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 scene of the ferocious storm is quite scary with the house shaking and loud crashes and bangs. The power goes out and they all take shelter in the bathtub, waiting for the storm to pass over.
  • There is a flashback scene to a plane crash where a man lies in the snow with blood on his head, struggling to stay alive.
  • The youngest daughter cries a lot when her little ceramic pony breaks into pieces.

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:

  • There are several scenes which are quite emotional in this movie – for example the mother cries quietly to herself in a dark room when the children have gone to sleep, or the son is upset thinking about his dead father and he throws a box on the floor and runs down to the lake.

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 three children are dismayed when their mother agrees to marry another man who they don’t believe she really loves. They miss their father.
  • The teenage daughter feels social pressure and is upset that her birthday party is going to be upstaged by another party being held by a popular girl on the very same night. She also hates that they are so poor.

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:

  • Apple (iPhone and laptop computer)
  • FedEx
  • Ben & Jerry's Ice cream.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references and some romance in this movie, including:

  • The teenage daughter says to her mother, “you’re the one who has to sleep with him”, when discussing whether her mother should marry someone.
  • Miranda’s friend says that Bray is “Hot” and asks if he is single.
  • Miranda and Bray hold hands and have a long, passionate kiss.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • Adults drink wine but they don’t get drunk.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Pissed.

In a nutshell

The Secret: Dare to Dream is a mild romantic drama with some positive messages and an uplifting, happy ending. There is little that is likely to scare or disturb children, however, they may find it boring and it is unlikely to hold their attention. The film is definitely targeted towards adults, not children.

The main messages from this movie are that thinking positively can change your life, and that you create your own luck.

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

  • Being grateful for what you have.
  • The power of positive thinking.
  • The power of optimism.

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

  • What is it like to live through a natural disaster? How do communities prepare?
  • Do you think the philosophy behind this movie: the law of attraction (you create your own reality with the power of your thoughts) is right? Do you think some people, particularly those that struggle with, for example, financial security or health problems, might find it offensive or controversial?

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