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Parents' Guide to

Opal Dream

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Unusual Australian drama has a few moments of violence.

Movie PG 2007 85 minutes
Opal Dream Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

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 of the DVD shows perhaps the only three fun scenes in the movie. The rest of the movie was very stressful. The imaginary friends of the girl, Kellyanne, go missing. The children's father goes looking for the friends at an opal mine where he has a claim and where he had lost the friends when they were in his charge. The father is threatened and accused unfairly of a crime when he was looking for the missing imaginary friends. The man who threatens him, is very aggressive and violent and uses a gun, foul language and makes untrue accustions. This man sets the family's property on fire, burning down the special house that Kellyanne and her imaginary friends had used to play in. The dangerous man also burns an effigy of the father, that he has hung by the neck. A dead rat is tied to the brother's handle bars. The entire family is ostracized by the town and the mom loses her job. Kellyanne asks her brother, who is just a little boy, to go the mine in the middle of the night, because she fears her friends are dead and in the mine. He rides his bike to the mine and enters the dangerous mine in the dark, down a long ladder, with only a flashlight. He has a stressful experience of finding evidence of the remains of the imaginary friends under some rocks in the bottom of the mine. He determines the friends are dead, down in this awful place. Kellyanne becomes ill and has to go the hospital. In the end, the father is redeemed in court, the mother gets her job back and the entire town attends a funeral for the imaginary friends. Coffins for the friends are lowered into the ground. Though there is a message of redemption and healing, I feel it is a very stressful story not appropriate for small children. I feel it is a hurtful message to a young viewer that an imaginary friend can become lost and die in a scary way, never to return. Though imaginary friends may "disappear" as childhood evolves for children, this story send the message that it can be very sad, scary and confusing. My daughter asked me why anyone would make a movie where imaginary friends would get lost and then die. After the movie was over, she said, "It is the worst movie I ever saw. Never watch it."

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

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.

Movie Details

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