Australian Films of the 2020s

Australian movies that have been censored for more commercially friendly classifications.


Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)

Directed by Monica Zanetti / 2020 / Australia / IMDb

On 29 July 2020, an 82-minute print of ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) was passed with an MA15+ (Strong coarse language) rating.

The classification matrix described,
Strong impact: language
Mild impact: themes, violence, drug use, sex
None: nudity

This print played at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August and Brisbane in October.

A censored version, also 82-minutes, was passed in October with an M (Coarse language).

The classification matrix was the same, apart from the language, which went from ‘Strong impact’ to ‘Moderate impact’.

In both cases, the applicant was This Is Arcadia Pty Ltd.

What bad language was censored?

The film was unanimously awarded an MA15+ rating for a single use of the word ‘cunt’.

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) (2020) - Ellie (Sophie Hawkshaw) & Abbie (Zoe Terakes) fighting
Uncut – Audio

The M-rated version overdubbed ‘cunt’ with the sound of a squawking crow.

July 29, 2020
The classifiable element that is strong in viewing impact is language.

The examples described below do not represent an exhaustive list of the content that caused the film to be classified MA 15+. The times given are approximations.

LANGUAGE

Strong coarse language may be used. Aggressive or very strong coarse language should be infrequent.

The film contains use of coarse language that is strong in impact. It includes a single use of very strong coarse language in the form of the word “cunt” (at 32 minutes) in addition to use of the word “fuck” and derivatives.

At 32 minutes, after Abbie playfully holds a crumpled note from Ellie, Ellie says, “Don’t be such a cunt!”

At 14 minutes, after Ellie tells her she is in detention for littering, Abbie says, “It’s pretty fucked actually.”

At 19 minutes, Ellie’s mother, talking to her friend Patty, says, “Fuck. I’m getting so rude, I have no self-awareness.”

At 48 minutes, Ellie’s mother says of Patty, “She doesn’t need to be a fucking Uber driver.”

In the Board’s opinion, the overall impact of coarse language within the context of this film is no higher than strong and it can therefore be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.

Decision:

This film is classified MA 15+ with consumer advice of strong coarse language.

– Classification Board report

October 22, 2020
The classifiable element is language that is moderate in viewing impact.

The examples described below do not represent an exhaustive list of the content that caused the film to be classified M.

LANGUAGE

Coarse language may be used. Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent and justified by context.

The film contains use of coarse language that is moderate in impact. It includes infrequent use of strong coarse language that is justified by context in the form of the word ‘fuck’ and derivatives.

At 14 minutes, after Ellie tells her she is in detention for littering, Abbie says, “It’s pretty fucked actually.”

At 19 minutes, Ellie’s mother, talking to her friend Patty, says, “Fuck. I’m getting so rude, I have no self-awareness.”

At 48 minutes, Ellie’s mother says of Patty, “She doesn’t need to be a fucking Uber driver.”

In the Board’s opinion the overall impact of coarse language within the context of this film is no higher than moderate and it can therefore be accommodated within the M classification.

OTHER MATTERS CONSIDERED OR NOTED

The Board notes that the film contains themes, violence, drug use and sexual references that can be accommodated within a lower classification.

The Board notes that a version of this film has been previously classified MA 15+ (with consumer advice of strong coarse language) on 29/07/2020.

In the Board’s opinion, the modifications to this film – which includes the removal of strong coarse language at 31 minutes with use of the word “cunt” replaced by audio of a squawking crow – alters the classification and no longer exceeds a moderate impact level. Therefore, this material warrants an M classification with consumer advice of coarse language best describing the film’s content.

Decision:

This film is classified M with consumer advice of coarse language.

– Classification Board report

Censored DVD

In May 2021, Umbrella Entertainment released the modified version on DVD.

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) (2020) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Umbrella

Censored on Netflix

In February 2022, the modified version of ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) was added to Netflix Australia.

The overdubbed audio plays as ‘Don’t be such a [squawking crow sound]’.

Despite this, it was still listed with a MA15+ (Strong coarse language) rating. Presumably, this was due to the subtitles being uncut.

Where is it uncut ?

If an Australian film is censored for a local rating, it may become the default version when released overseas.

It may not be the case with ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) as the British Board of Film Classification awarded it a 15-certificate in June 2021 and noted ‘…infrequent very strong language (‘c**t’)’.

Please e-mail us if you can confirm the availability of the uncut version.


Penguin Bloom

Directed by Glendyn Ivin / 2020 / Australia / IMDb

On 3 November 2020, a 95-minute print of PENGUIN BLOOM was passed with an M (Mature themes) rating.

The classification matrix described,
Moderate impact: themes
Mild impact: language
None: violence, drug use, nudity, sex

A censored version, also 95-minutes, was passed on November 17 with a PG (Mild themes and coarse language).

The classification matrix was the same, apart from the themes, which went from ‘Moderate impact’ to ‘Mild impact’.

The M-rated themes describe ‘A near-fatal fall is depicted, with some blood detail’. The PG version modifies it to ‘… without blood or injury detail’.

In both cases, the applicant was Roadshow Films.

Censored for home viewing

In March 2021, a 193-minute disc received an identical PG-rating.

Penguin Bloom (2020) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Roadshow

The following month, Roadshow Entertainment released this censored version on DVD and Blu-ray.

The same print, running 95:21, was added to Netflix Australia in 2022.

What was censored for a PG?

Tom S. reports.
At 24 minutes, there is a flashback sequence of Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) falling off the balcony. Two shots have been altered in the aftermath.

The first is at the end of the tracking shot as the camera goes over the balcony to show a distant overhead view of Sam lying unconscious on the pavement with a pool of blood around her head.

Penguin Bloom (2020) - Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) after fall - Uncut 1
Uncut – Blood pool

The blood has been removed for the Australian PG version.

Penguin Bloom (2020) - Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) after fall - Censored 1
Censored – Blood pool

The second is a brief close-up of Sam moving with a large pool of blood around her head.

Penguin Bloom (2020) - Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) after fall - Uncut 2
Uncut – Blood pool

Again, the blood is missing in the Australian PG version.

Penguin Bloom (2020) - Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) after fall - Censored 2
Censored – Blood pool

O-LYM-PIC Football Dreams

Directed by Janet Merewether / 2021 / Australia / IMDb

On 27 October 2022, an 85-minute Digital Video of O-LYM-PIC FOOTBALL DREAMS was passed with an M (Coarse language) rating.

The classification matrix described,
Moderate impact: language
Very mild impact: themes
None: violence, drug use, nudity, sex

A censored version, also running 85-minutes, was passed with a PG (Mild coarse language) rating on November 8.

In both cases, Janet Merewether T/A Go Girl Productions were the applicant.

O-LYM-PIC Football Dreams (2022) - Movie poster 1
Poster

The classification matrix was the same, apart from the language, which went from ‘Moderate impact’ to ‘Mild impact’.

The M-rated version describes the language as a bleeped-out use of the words ‘fuck’ and ‘bloody’.

In the PG version the words are also visually-blurred, indicating modifications to the subtitles.