Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wondrous Oblivion

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 13 (Themes. Lang.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wondrous Oblivion
  • a review of Wondrous Oblivion completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 May 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Due to the level of violence in this movie, children under the age of 13 would need parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Children over 13 would be okay to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

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: Wondrous Oblivion
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, Low level coarse language
Length 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

David Wiseman is an eleven year old Jewish boy growing up in London during the 1960s. David is a keen cricket fan who collects cricket cards and knows all about the players but unfortunately can’t throw or hit a ball himself. His school mates make fun of this and although David longs to make the school team and play for the coveted cup, he usually gets left to be the scorer.

David lives in a very narrow minded community who barely tolerate a Jewish family living amongst them but when a black family, the Samuels, move in next door to the Wisemans, it’s more than they are prepared to take. The Samuels family consists of Father, Mother and two daughters. They make quite a noise moving in, especially when they throw a party and play loud music which keeps the neighbours awake. Also much to the horror of the neighbours, Dennis Samuels proceeds to dig up the roses in the back garden and erects a net the width and length of the garden (which isn’t very large).

David watches with longing while Dennis and his daughter Judy play cricket in their back garden. Before too long and against his parents’ wishes, David joins the Samuels to practise some cricket. Dennis soon realises that David doesn’t have any skill and with patience and kindness he teaches him to bat and throw a ball. David’s mother Ruth is pleased for him that he has found new friends and now allows him to go just into their back garden. David becomes firm friends with Dennis and particularly Judy. Ruth also admires Dennis for the way he treats David.

The tension in the neighbourhood increases and threats are made to both families but when the Samuels’ house is set on fire one night, things become very ugly.

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:

  • One of the neighbourhood youths throws stones at the Wisemans’ window and threatens Mr. Wiseman by pretending to shoot him.
  • Youths punch a black guard who insists on seeing their tickets. One youth pulls out a knife.
  • A youth pours petrol around the perimeter of the Samuels’ house and sets it alight.

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.

Children in this age group could be scared by the above mentioned violent scenes and in particular by the house being set on fire. David wakes Judy up by breaking her window and calling out to her. The family all have to get out of the house. When the police arrive they accuse Dennis of setting the house on fire himself and so he goes back into the house to retrieve the hate mail he’s been receiving. However he is in the house for a long time and Mr. Wiseman has to go in and fetch him out.

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.

Children in this age group could also be scared by 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.

Children in this age group could still be concerned by the above mentioned scenes and by the hatred expressed in the movie.

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.

Children in this age group wouldn’t be scared by this movie.

Product placement

David collects cricket cards sponsored by Players Cigarettes.

Sexual references

There are no sexual references in this movie.

Nudity and sexual activity

There’s not really any sexual activity except that Ruth and Dennis kiss passionately but don’t go any further because Dennis feels it is wrong.

Use of substances

There’s a bit of drinking and smoking in this movie—in the cricket club, at a dance and at home. When David starts hitting the ball, his friends say he must be ‘on drugs’.

Coarse language

There is a little coarse language in this movie with the occasional use of the following:

  • for God’s sake
  • bastards
  • shithole.

In a nutshell

The take home message of this movie is the senseless pain and violence caused by racial intolerance.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • tolerance
  • social equality
  • care and compassion
  • empathy
  • loyalty
  • friendship
  • selflessness
  • self discipline
  • courage
  • bravery.

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