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"RABBIT-PROOF FENCE"
(2002) (Everlyn Sampi, Kenneth Branagh) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Heavy Moderate Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Moderate Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After being kidnapped and relocated by their own government, three mixed-blood Aborigine kids escape and set out to walk over one-thousand miles back to their home.
PLOT:
It's Western Australia, 1931 and the Chief Protector of Aborigines, AO Neville (KENNETH BRANAGH), has decided to enforce the law that "half-caste" children of mixed heritage - namely white fathers and Aborigine mothers - must be removed from their homelands so that they won't grow up and then further dilute the Aborigine race.

Accordingly, he's sent one of his men, Constable Riggs (JASON CLARKE), to round up three Aboriginal girls, 14-year-old Molly (EVERLYN SAMPI), her 8-year-old sister, Daisy (TIANNA SANSBURY) and their 10-year-old cousin, Gracie (LAURA MONAGHAN) and take them 1,200 miles from their home at the Jigalong Depot to the Moore River Native Settlement.

They're to be trained there to be domestic servants along with other such girls and are forbidden to speak in their native tongue. Should any of them attempt to escape, a tracker, Moodoo (DAVID GULPILIL), will set out, find and return them to the Settlement.

Yet, Molly can't stand the place, its rules and regulations, or the fact that she's away from her mother (NINGALI LAWFORD) and other family members and friends. Thus, she convinces the two other girls to accompany her in escaping and returning home. Without any real plan or supplies, the girls then make their escape.

Along the way, they eventually come across the rabbit-proof fence - designed to keep rabbits out of the farmlands -- that traverses the entire continent. Remembering that it runs through Jigalong, they decide to follow it. Yet, Neville eventually realizes that they're doing just that and so sends Moodoo and Riggs on a mission to intercept the girls and return them to the Settlement for appropriate punishment.

As the girls make their way across the continent with help from various strangers and former inhabitants of the settlement, including Mavis (DEBORAH MAILMAN), they try to avoid those after them and safely make their way home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're interested in films about Australia or the Aborigine people there, it doesn't seem likely that many kids, save for curious older teens, might be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For emotional thematic material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • EVERLYN SAMPI plays a 14-year-old girl who shows great courage, smarts and perseverance in leading her sister and cousin across more than a thousand miles of barren and hostile lands to get them back home.
  • TIANNA SANSBURY plays her younger sister who has a hard time on the trip.
  • LAURA MONAGHAN plays their cousin who eventually breaks away from them upon hearing news that her mother is in another location.
  • KENNETH BRANAGH plays a government official and official "protector" of the Aborigine people who decides to remove the girls from their home to "protect" the Aborigine bloodline from being diluted by such "half-castes."
  • DAVID GULPILIL plays a tracker who sets out to find and return the girls to the Settlement where his own daughter is being kept.
  • NINGALI LAWFORD plays Molly's mother who worries about her daughter after she's kidnapped.
  • DEBORAH MAILMAN plays a former inmate at the Settlement who helps the girls and worries about her "master's" sexual activity with her.
  • JASON CLARKE plays a local constable who works for Neville and is sent to relocate the girls and then to find and retrieve them after they escape.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG. Several potentially tense/suspenseful moments are present as three girls attempt to elude a tracker and make their way home through perilous terrain.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including several white men who remove those girls and others from their homes for racism-related reasons, while a man apparently has a history of forcing himself on a young woman in a sexual fashion (we see him enter her room, but nothing happens this time).

    Some related tense family moments are present, some brief smoking occurs, a woman hits herself with a rock in despair and we hear a woman whipping a runaway. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We briefly see the contents of a human waste bucket (brown water).
  • Daisy has some cuts on her legs.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Neville and others responsible for taking and holding the girls at the Moore River Native Settlement obviously have bad attitudes.
  • Various people at the Settlement look down on the girls and their native tongue.
  • Neville politely coerces Moodoo into staying at the Settlement in his current position since his daughter would not be able to leave with him.
  • Molly tries to steal eggs from a farm (for her and the other girls to eat), but she's caught.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers might find a scene where Riggs arrives at the depot and then forcibly abducts the three girls and pulls them away from Molly's mother as unsettling.
  • Molly sees a boy crying in the solitary confinement shed on the Settlement.
  • The girls hide and try to remain still and quiet as the tracker passes close by them.
  • The girls try to hide from the tracker and others who've arrived and are quite close to them.
  • Several men chase after Gracie and catch her, putting her in a car to be taken back to the Settlement.
  • Molly and Daisy drag themselves through the barren desert, eventually collapsing in it.
  • Riggs slowly makes his way (with a rifle) at night to try to find out what the Aborigine women are doing when Molly's mother gets in his way and then holds up a sharpened pole like a spear. That makes him stop and then run away.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Carried by several people.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • It's possible the film could inspire kids to run away from situations that they're in that they don't like.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A white man comes into his half-caste housekeeper's quarters presumably to have sex (he sneaks in and starts to undress but doesn't get very far), but finds the three girls there instead. The housekeeper pleads for the girls to stay so that the man won't come back that night.
  • We see what somewhat looks like an older Aborigine woman's bare breasts at night at from a distance, but it was so brief that it's hard to tell.
  • SMOKING
  • A man smokes twice, another smokes once and we hear that tobacco was sold at the depot.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Molly's mother tries to prevent Riggs from taking her daughters and niece, but is unsuccessful and is very upset after that. Others are upset about that as well.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy of the events portrayed here.
  • The girls' perseverance in walking such a great distance to get back home.
  • Neville's plan on keeping the Aborigine blood line pure, such intentions, and whether racism was a part of that.
  • The girls being viewed as undesirable since they were of mixed blood.
  • VIOLENCE
  • An older woman repeatedly hits herself on the head with what looks like a stone after Riggs takes the girls.
  • We hear but don't see a girl being whipped for previously running away.



  • Reviewed November 21, 2002 / Posted December 25, 2002

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