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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Red Dog is the story about the loss of a pet. The setting is the hardscrabble Australian Outback, and there's a great deal of drinking, scrappiness, some violence, a scene of attempted suicide, and a few deaths. The dog is called "cheeky bastard" and "dirty filthy whoring ham." There are also numerous visual gags/references to farts. The film is most appropriate for older kids, but it does have positive messages about pet loyalty and friendship that families will appreciate.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
As dog movies go, Red Dog offers some unique framing: It's set in the starkly beautiful Australian Outback; it's told against the tale of the rough-hewn miners he finds a home among. It's a beautifully shot movie in an inherently interesting setting. It doesn't take every opportunity for tear-jerking sentiment, but it is an emotional tale of how this special dog impacted the people he interacted with.
There's a lot here for families to mull over about the nature of dog ownership, particularly in the message that we don't really own our pets, we merely get to live with them. Kids who love dogs will likely be fascinated by the legendary tale of this dog's loyalty. Like all movies celebrating pets, this one deals with loss directly. Parents who've reconciled the setting and excessive, ever-present drinking, and scrappiness may enjoy this family foray into the joys and sorrows of pet ownership.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about pet loss and the influence pets have on our lives. Have you ever had a pet that died? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with your sadness? How have your pets changed your lives?
Go online to learn more about the vast geography of Australia.
Red Dog is a stray who is taken in by a community. Go online to learn more about animals who've been abandoned and what communities can do to help reduce the number of stray pets.
- On DVD or streaming: November 6, 2012
- Cast: Josh Lucas, KoKo, Rachel Taylor
- Director: Kriv Stenders
- Studio: ARC Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for thematic elements, some language and sensuality.
Themes & Topics
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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.