Australian Council on Children and the Media

Valentine's Day

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Sexual references, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Valentine's Day
  • a review of Valentine's Day completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 February 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to sexual references and themes.
Children 15 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: Valentine's Day
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references
Length 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Valentine’s Day follows the intertwining lives of a group of friends and some strangers as they go about preparing for, enjoying and enduring this special day. We meet Reed Bennett (Ashton Kucher) who begins the morning by proposing to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba). Meanwhile Reed’s best friend Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner) is falling for married heart surgeon Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey). Julia’s friend Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) is planning an ‘I hate Valentine’s Day’ party because she feels she is the only person on the planet who repeatedly spends the day alone.

Kara’s main client, sports star Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) comes ‘out of the closet’ during the press conference that she organizes while Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx) moves about the city interviewing strangers about their thoughts on love and Valentine’s Day. He interviews Willy (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia (Taylor Swift) a very hands-on, affectionate, high school couple about their relationship. Felicia’s friend Grace (Emma Roberts) and her boyfriend Alex (Carter Jenkins) are planning to have sex for the first time on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile Jason (Topher Grace) learns to appreciate and understand his new girlfriend Liz (Anne Hathaway) who moonlights from her office job as a phone sex worker.

A young boy named Edison (Bryce Robison) links many of these stories together as he struggles to understand the meaning of love, the nature of Valentine’s Day and come to terms with the fact that his mom (Julia Roberts) isn’t there to share the holiday with him.

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:

  • Julia takes her anger at Dr. Copeland out on a piñata, bashing it violently until it breaks apart and disturbing other guests at the restaurant.
  • Julia confronts Dr. Copeland and his wife at a restaurant. She decides to give him a message through her description of the food which includes ‘mutilated pigs testicles shoved up the bum’ before being cooked in the pig’s carcass. She is very graphic about the way that the cold, lifeless heart is extricated and chopped up.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are no scenes in this movie that are likely scare or disturb children under the age of five.

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are no scenes in this movie that are likely scare or disturb children aged 5-8.

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

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Liz gets numerous calls throughout the film from a range of men wanting different types of phone sex, which she attempts to provide despite the fact that she is at work, in the office or on a date.
  • Liz talks about having a threesome.
  • Liz’ boss gets one of her phone calls and says that she has a guy on the line who wants to be covered in Vaseline and bubble wrap.
  • Grace talks candidly with people about her plans to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time.
  • Esther tells her husband that she once had an affair with his business partner.
  • Sean admits that he is gay during a press conference.
  • Kara talks about her relationship with her Blackberry and says “Thank God it vibrates.”
  • Liz tells one guy over the phone that she is going to lick him all up and down with her ‘scratchy kitty-cat tongue’.
  • During a telecast in relation to Sean Jackson, Kelvin says ‘I stand behind you. Metaphorically speaking’
  • Liz’s boss gets a call from “Vladimir” and decides to handle the call herself, telling him he gets to have phone sex with an African queen.
  • People are encouraged to: “make love to your boyfriends on Valentine’s Day.”
  • A telecast ends with the words: “Let’s get naked!”

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Numerous couples are shown in bed as they awake to face the day. Some straddle one another (displaying lots of thigh), some kiss, and some race around grabbing stray articles of clothing that have been flung around the room.
  • Julia’s bottom is shown as she walks to the bathroom wearing a g-string and a shirt.
  • Sean steps out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel.
  • Grace and Alex plan to have sex together for the first time on Valentine’s Day. Many of their friends are aware of this and one guy shouts out: “All us virgins are pulling for you.”
  • Alex heads to Grace’s house to prepare her room and is standing naked playing a guitar and singing a song he has composed for Grace when her mom walks into the room.
  • Willy and Felicia are all over each other kissing, hugging and touching.

Use of substances

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

  • References to alcohol including: “Lead me to the alcohol.” and “Give me a bottle.”
  • Jake and another man share a drink from a hip flask.
  • A drunk man sleeps in a car.
  • People drink at restaurants.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Get your head out of your ass you freakin’ moron!”

In a nutshell

Valentine’s Day is a romantic comedy featuring an all-star cast. It is a light hearted film that is likely to be enjoyed by older teenagers, but may attract children because of a cast list which includes Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner.

The main message from this movie is that true love does exist, sometimes where you least expect to find it.

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

  • compassion for others
  • forgiveness
  • responsibility
  • trusting your heart

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

  • planning to have sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend for insignificant or inappropriate reasons.
  • going out on your own at night and getting into someone’s van without really knowing who they are.

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