Opal Dream

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Opal Dream Movie Poster Image
Unusual Australian drama has a few moments of violence.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

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 & representations

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

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.

Sex
Language

Infrequent profanity: "Piss off," "bastards." A character is called a "retard."

Consumerism
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent Written bysalamons December 2, 2014

Violent, scary, sad and disheartening story.

This movie is advertised as "exceptional" and "heartwarming". My 8 year old daughter and I found it sad and disturbing at times. The jacket... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bygkswah77 September 4, 2017

Beautiful

An amazing story. Beautifully done. Some things are for older kids only, but the story of how these two siblings grew closer through these imaginary figures tha... Continue reading

What's the story?

Rex Williamson has moved his family to a small town in the Australian Outback in the hopes of striking it rich in an opal mine. Rex's daughter Kellyanne is a fervent believer in the existence of two imaginary friends -- Pobby and Dingan. The family always leaves two extra plates at the dinner table for them, and can't help but indulge their daughter's rich fantasy life. When Rex "takes" Pobby and Dingan to work and "forgets" to bring them back, Kellyanne insists on going back to the mines to find them. When they do, it is dark, and the owner of the mines confronts Rex and accuses him of being a "ratter," or a poacher of other men's mines. The Williamson family ends up being ostracized by almost everyone in the town. While Rex tries to prove his innocence, Kellyanne becomes sick as she believes that Pobby and Dingan have died. It is up to her skeptical brother Ash to find a way to believe his sister's stories and convince his family and town to believe, too.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in the movie. Did it seem appropriate to the story? Would the movie have been as powerful without it?

  • Was the family's response to Kellyanne's active imagination sensible and appropriate? Why or why not?

  • How does Ash change over the course of the movie? What do you think his character is meant to portray?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love interesting stories

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate