Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Star

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended 5 to 8 due to violent and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Star
  • a review of The Star completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 December 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 8 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.

Name of movie: The Star
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scenes may frighten very young children

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Star tells the story of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the donkey. Bo (voice of Steven Yeun) is a common mill donkey in Nazareth who is fed up with his daily tasks, and longs to escape and see the world. With encouragement from his friend, Dave (voice of Keegan-Michael Key), a hilarious and ambitious dove, Bo manages to escape from the mill. After being chased by the furious mill keeper, Bo injures his foot and seeks refuge in a humble house in the village. Here he meets the young, pregnant Mary who takes pity on the little donkey and decides to keep him as a pet.

Meanwhile, the evil King Herod has heard rumours of the prophecy of a new king being born and decides that he must find and murder this baby that threatens his claim to the throne. He decrees that all citizens must travel to Bethlehem to register in a census, hoping that this will reveal the baby. One of King Herod’s henchmen, a large and threatening soldier with two vicious dogs, is sent out to search for the expectant couple.

As Mary and her young husband Joseph set off on foot to Bethlehem, Bo decides that he must follow them and warn them about the danger. With Dave the dove and his new friend, a sheep called Ruby (voice of Aidy Bryant), Bo has a perilous time trying to save Mary and Joseph from being found and helping get them safely to Bethlehem before the holy birth.

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.

The Christmas story; child killing; redemption; bravery

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:

  • King Herod’s henchman routinely threatens people with his fist or his knife. There are many scenes of him getting out his knife with the intention of fighting or killing.
  • Bo, the donkey, has a fight with the henchman and uses his hind legs to kick him.
  • The two attack dogs viciously snarl and snap, threaten and chase the other animals.
  • King Herod discusses killing the babies that are born in the kingdom.
  • King Herod’s henchman sets fire to the barn where Mary is giving birth to baby Jesus.

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 Bo escapes from the Mill he is chased by the mill keeper who is angry and threatening.
  • There are several scenes where Bo the donkey is in danger of falling from the top of high cliffs, and several scenes where he does fall.
  • King Herod and his henchman are threatening and scary characters. The henchman uses intimidation and violence to gather information about Mary and Joseph.

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.

Younger children in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Nothing of 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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some very mild sexual references in this movie, including:

  • the dove, Dave, uses some mildly flirtatious language when talking to a group of hens.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

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

  • “butt”; “poop”

In a nutshell

The Star is an entertaining adventure story which tells the story of the Nativity from a new angle with humour and warmth. The main message from this movie is to teach children about the Christian origin of Christmas. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include bravery, friendship, ambition and forgiveness.

There are some scary scenes which may be too much for children under five and parental guidance is recommended for under eights. Parents may wish to discuss the evil nature of Herod and his henchman.

 

 

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