A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an intense drama depicting three Aboriginal children leaving an Australian internment camp in an attempt to reunite with their families. The scene of the government official taking the children away is intensely emotional, though only moderately violent. During the journey home, the children are hidden by an Aboriginal servant in her bed, and her master is surprised when he goes to sleep with her and finds the children. A confrontation between a British official with a gun and an Aboriginal mother with a spear is tense, but results in no use of force.
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What's the story?
Set in 1931, RABBIT-PROOF FENCE brings to the screen the horrific consequences of a British policy that removed Australian children who were of mixed white/Aboriginal background from their homes (a practice that continued until the 1970s). In this true story, Molly Craig (Everlyn Sampi), her sister Daisy (Tianna Sansbury), and their cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are all "half castes," what the British call children of mixed-race couples. Their British fathers have long since left, and their homes are with their mothers in Jigalong, an area along a rabbit-proof fence that cuts through the middle of Australia. British officials, wanting to improve the upbringing of all half-castes, forcibly take the children to an internment camp where they are to be trained as domestic workers and integrated into society. Once there, Molly's longing for her home is so strong that she makes an escape with her sister and cousin, following the fence to get back to Jigalong.
Is it any good?
The children's performances are quite strong. While appearing courageous on their treacherous journey, they are also able to show their hidden fear. This film does not simply cast the British as unsympathetic villains; while they do believe the Aborignie is an inferior race to the British, their desire to recapture the escaped children is motivated at least partly by a fear for the children's well-being.
While the tale is emotionally charged, it is appropriate for any older children or tweens who are mature enough to handle the scene of the children being taken away from their parents.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about true stories. Do you believe that this movie is 100 percent fact? How would you find out?
What do you think of popular movies' ability to tell history? Do you think you get an accurate picture of what happened? Do you care more than if you read about this practice in a history book?
- In theaters: November 29, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: August 19, 2003
- Cast: David Gulpilil, Jason Clarke, Ningali Lawford
- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: emotional thematic material.
- Last updated: February 7, 2020
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