December Boys

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
December Boys Movie Poster Image
1960s coming-of-age tale with Harry Potter star.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Conflict comes from mildly immature and insensitive behavior of four orphaned boys visiting a small village populated by principled, well-meaning adults. There are no villains here. Even a mentally unbalanced member of the community is treated humanely and with respect. As the boys begin to trust and depend upon the adults in the town, as well as each other, positive lessons are learned.


Boy hits adult male once in face with fist; boys briefly wrestle angrily with no resulting injuries; younger boy hits older friend with a stick several times, bruising his face.


Young boys look at brassiere ads, spy on adult females undressing in shadows and silhouetted in shower. Adolescent girl seduces innocent hero, kissing him and showing him how to touch her. He unbuttons his pants and off-screen sexual intercourse is implied. No nudity or other overt sexuality in this scene.


Infrequent mild swearing: "hell," "for Christ's sake," "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Boys hide cigarettes and smoke in numerous scenes; boys sneak beer and drink it; teen boy and girl share wine from bottle.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bylove2 September 24, 2009

yeah dan!

this movie was awsome and FYI Daniel Radcliffe ROCKS! And LUCY SOOOOOOO DOSENT!!!! (WATCH IT IT"S A GREAT MOVIE! EXSEPT FOR LUCY!)
Parent of a 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 16-year-old Written bycabbe June 26, 2009

Harry Potter Star Does Well!

Daniel radcliffe was excellent in this movie! The only problem was where the girl seduces him and makes him go up his skirt with his hand. Mature 11 year olds w... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 9, 2014

(second) best. movie. ever

a sweet, coming of age story of four orphan boys all born in December. in the film, they all go to the beach for their birthday,and one of them will get adopted... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysuper movie reviewer January 2, 2010

great movie

i agree with all the other reviews this is a great movie it really entertained me. But there are several scenes with underage drinking and smoking also 1 scene... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

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