Wide open sky

image for Wide open sky

Short takes

Suitable for all ages, but may lack interest for young children

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wide open sky
  • a review of Wide open sky completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 April 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Nothing scary or upsetting for this group, but may lack interest
Children aged 5 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Wide open sky
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: General
Length: 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Wide open sky is a documentary featuring Michelle Leonard, a remarkable choir conductor and music teacher. Every year Michelle travels over 4000 kilometres into some of the most disadvantaged areas of regional NSW to audition primary school children for her choir, Moorimbilla Voices. Most of these children have had limited exposure to music and live in regions where the main social activity is football. Michelle selects 120 children and takes them to music camp at Baradine where they have intensive training for 3 days. As a lot of the children are from families with no financial means of support, Michelle also spends a lot of time fund-raising. Many of the children have  never been away from home before, and Michelle is a hard taskmaster, but the children rise to the challenge. The training culminates in a performance with the Sydney Symphony Youth Orchestra in front of an audience of hundreds of people.

During the course of the movie it is obvious that the children grow, not only in the knowledge of music, but also in their own self-confidence and their ability to express themselves artistically and have big dreams for their future.


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.

Music; living in outback Australia; child performers

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.

None of concern

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.

None of concern

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.

None of 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.

None of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

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.

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Wide open sky is an inspirational story of one woman’s passion for music and the drive to instil this love of music in children from outback Australia. The transformation of the children’s lives is remarkable. The movie is also interspersed with some beautiful cinematography featuring Australian landscapes. While the movie has nothing in it that would scare or upset children, it may be boring for small children.

The main messages from this movie are that with determination, passion and hard work, you can achieve great things.

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

  • the importance of expression of artistic ability and having great ambitions
  • it’s ok to be different
  • belief in oneself

Parents may also wish to discuss the fact that people have different strengths and talents and that not everyone has musical talent but that’s ok too.