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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that underage boys secretly smoke, drink beer and wine, and try to catch glimpses of women in states of undress. Their attempts are amateurish and relatively innocent. One scene dramatizes an adolescent boy's introduction to kissing and sexuality by a precocious girl slightly older, but experienced. No nudity involved, but there is kissing, suggestive touching, and a clear implication that sexual intercourse takes place when the scene ends. The fact that Maps, the boy involved, is played by Daniel Radcliffe, best known as Harry Potter, adds to the provocative nature of the scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Four young friends from an Australian orphanage, all with birthdays in December, receive a surprise two-week Christmas holiday in a small, close-knit seaside village. Once there, in the midst of the generous, homespun, and occasionally eccentric members of the community, the boys learn that one of them may be adopted by an idealized local couple. The competition that arises among them threatens their friendship and their loyalty. At the same time, Maps, the oldest of the boys, falls in love with the beautiful niece of one of the residents and is forced to come to terms with some decidedly adult emotions and actions.
Is it any good?
This is a beautifully photographed and deceptively simple film. Australia has never looked so wonderful. The people who impact the lives of the four orphans are revealed to have complex and often difficult stories themselves. Part of the boys' journey is learning how first impressions are often deceiving. Their coming-of-age involves more than the usual pain of self-awareness. DECEMBER BOYS takes into account the intricacies and nuances of the human heart, and respect for and deeper understanding of others. The sexual encounter between Maps and Lucy is the one element of the movie that makes it questionable for younger kids and not-quite-so-mature teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that this film is set in the 1960s. What's different about growing up now? What's the same? The December Boys encounter a variety of adults in a small town. How do the boys change as they get to know different people? What did the filmmakers hope to say about what diverse people bring to our lives?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.