A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As the boy Ash says: "When you believe in something, that's what makes it real." The movie makes a strong case for the power of imagination and faith, as well as the benefit of fantasy in a child's life.
Positive Role Models
Ash learns to set aside his skepticism regarding his sister Kellyanne's imaginary friends for the greater good of trying to restore her health. He is also unafraid to confront the bullies of his school when they join in the town's chorus that his father is a "ratter," or a poacher of mines owned by others.
Violence & Scariness
After a father is accused of being a thief, his trailer is set on fire as an effigy hangs. When the father confronts the men who did it at a nearby bar, he is beaten up by six men. A boy finds a rat tied around his bicycle handlebars, the work of bullies who believe the boy's father is a "ratter." While a father trespasses on another man's land, the owner of the land runs out and pulls a rifle.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Infrequent profanity: "Piss off," "bastards." A character is called a "retard."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A father is often shown holding and drinking from cans of beer, but does not appear intoxicated. Inside a bar, characters drink beer and smoke cigarettes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Opal Dream is a 2006 Australian film about the nature of faith and belief with some episodes of illness and violence. The main character becomes sick when her imaginary friends go missing and she thinks they're dead. Also the family is ostracized by the locals when they think the father has poached their land, and the father is beaten up. Older brother Ash has no problem standing up to bullies, and there is a scene where he discovers a rat has been tied to the handlebars by bullies. A few scenes take place in bars and there's a bit of rough language. The film does raise profound questions about what it means to believe in something, and and the transformative power of imagination. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In spite of the stretching required to convey the theme of the film, Opal Dream delivers an inspiring, if uneven, story of faith beyond what most of us see. In much the way viewers might wonder why teenagers in horror films open the basement doors of haunted houses, it's easy at first to feel frustrated with the decisions the parents make in OPAL DREAM and the ridiculous lengths they go to indulge their 9-year-old daughter's belief in imaginary friends. They leave extra plates at the dinner table, they buckle the empty backseats of their vehicles, and they incur the wrath of the entire town after being caught at night trespassing on mine land.
The acting -- Christian Byers as the boy Ashmun in particular -- is well done, and the viewer gets a vivid glimpse of life in an Australian Outback mining town. While the ending requires a great leap of faith on the part of the viewer, it's obvious that the makers of Opal Dream have their heart in the right place, and have a deeper message they want to share with the world.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.