A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Set in 1939 rural Australia, this show's setting demands that some examination of relations between Aboriginal people and White homesteaders take place. Some Aboriginal language and cultural practices are shown. Historical references to the World War that is set to encroach upon Australia are sprinkled into the storyline as well.
Set good boundaries for yourself. Don't let people take advantage of you. Use your power for good. Help others when you can. Don't give up. Work together to get things accomplished. Remember your ancestors. Respect your elders. Keep sacred things sacred. Stand up for those in need. Make your own story a good one. Honor the land. Make sacrifices for the greater good.
Positive Role Models
The child in this show, who is a mixed-race Aboriginal boy, is subject to abusive behavior from a White man, who also abuses his mother. But other White people and Aboriginal people stand up for him, sacrificing their health for his wellbeing.
Aboriginal people in this drama set in 1939 Australia are called derogatory names ("boong," "creamy") and treated like second-class citizens. This show looks at the systematic abduction of mixed-race, or "half-caste," children from their Aboriginal families. An Aboriginal shaman plays a crucial role for the people hoping to save a mixed-race child from this type of abduction. Chinese, Aboriginal, and Southeast Asian people act as servants for White characters.
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Violence & Scariness
Pointed bursts of violence. Fistfights, threats of domestic abuse, child abuse, drowning. War violence includes bombing raids, women and children killed in air raids. One man is thrown into crocodile-infested waters, a woman drowns, a man is trampled to death by a stampede of cows.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss. Derogatory comments are made about women ("sheilas"), as though they are only meant to be helpmates. No graphic nudity is shown when characters have sex. A scene in which a White man knocks on an Aboriginal woman's door for sex (he's later shown buckling his belt, etc.) is somewhat disturbing.
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"Bloody," "Christ," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters get violent when they're drunk. One character is an alcoholic who stashes bottles of rum all around him, passes out drunk, struggles to stay sober long enough to take care of his responsibilities. Characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Faraway Downs is a historical drama set in the outback of Australia in 1939 that's an expansion on writer, director, and producer Baz Luhrmann's 2008 movie Australia. Luhrmann doesn't shy away from having characters sling racist slurs at Aboriginal people and their mixed-race children ("boong," "creamy," "half-caste"). These epithets are often thrown as asides, with no repercussions. Granted, the historical setting provides context for these slurs to be spoken, but younger viewers might not understand that racist slurs are never OK to the recipients. Plenty of alcohol is consumed, especially by a man whose serious drinking problem keeps him from performing his duties as an accountant. Also expect cigarette smoking. Violence includes fist fights, drowning, perilous storms, and death by war violence. Character strengths include teamwork and courage.
Is It Any Good?
Sweeping, dramatic, and a tad predictable, this Baz Luhrmann vehicle scoops the viewer into a whirlwind epic that zeroes in on racism inherent in Australian culture. Faraway Downs is part love story, part historical drama, with a drizzle of peripheral mysticism. It's as though the shaman known as King George (played by the excellent David Gulpilil) pulls the strings from behind a transcendent curtain. He doesn't need to say a word; his watchful presence atop a mesa, or in a jail cell, mesmerizes. Young actor Brandon Walters has a maestro's range as well. There are gems in this tapestry.
Jackman and Kidman know that their roles in this tribute border on patriotic. Though they're not given much beyond their stereotypes to play with, they do manage to grab poignant moments. Fans of epic dramas will appreciate this movie-turned-series the most.
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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.