Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well, I went to see Batman. I'm not writing a review, other than to say, it was Heath Ledger's film, god bless him wherever he is. And it was about an hour too long. I can't understand why everyone's going again. It was good, sure. Could have been seriously edited though. Long, drawn out yaaaawn.

And the other problem I had was that I knew of two little kids who'd been taken to see it - and with each new violent bit, I couldn't help but see it from a five year old's perspective. I mean, I found it hard to watch as it was, a good few close eyes, fingers in the ears moments.

I am appalled to find out that there's a 15A cert, that gives parents free reign to bring any age of child to any kind of film under 18 cert. You may bitch about the Nanny State, but the people who've brought their small children to this are not responsible, and do not know how to safeguard their children's best interests. I told Darren I shouldn't say shame on anyone - well, I've changed my mind. If you're a parent who knowingly brought your six year old to see this film, shame on you!

I've had to write this letter to the IFCO, or there's no way I'd sleep tonight. If you agree with me, maybe you'd write too.

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have just been to see Batman. From the first ten minutes of the film, my enjoyment of it was seriously tempered by the fact that I knew of someone, a mother who is not a responsible carer, who took her two young sons to see this film. The youngest is perhaps four or five.
I have since been told that this is not unusual, and the matinees have been full of kids, being brought by their parents.

I have a five year old, and would not let her anywhere near this film. To be quite honest, I found a lot of it hard to watch myself, and knowing small children are seeing it makes it far harder to stomach. The small boy who saw it said it was ok, because he was a 'brave boy'. A brave boy? Films should be fun for kids, not ordeals.

In watching that two and a half hour, dark film, a five year old will see numerous shootings, hear a psychotic and terrifyingly made up man hold a knife to someones mouth while telling a story of seeing his mother killed and having his face slashed by his drunken father. They will see people tied, beaten, tortures, slashed, dropped from buildings, attacked by ferocious dogs, see a man with a nightmare face threaten to shoot another child. They will see a terrified man writhing on the ground with a huge scar on his abdomen and a phone inside him.

The list goes on, and on, and on, just like the film does, with relentless image after image. In addition to this, the scenery and moral and psychological content of the the film is dark and affecting. It is emotionally manipulative, effectively so. This is not Adam West's Batman, or even Michael Keaton's; this was NEVER intended for small children, yet for some reason, the IFCO deems it so?

Whoever made this film should sleep as badly as I will tonight, knowing that small children are being subjected to this film.

I presume the 15A rating protects 12 - 14 year olds from seeing the film alone. But 5 year olds with irresponsible parents are left unprotected one way or the other. It makes no sense to me.


laughykate said...

I went and saw it myself and nearly shat myself when a dead Joker slammed into the window.

jothemama said...


Yeah, that was a startle, alright! But in terms of the post watching the guy tied up and crying on video was scarier in the end...

tina said...

Well done you for taking action and emailing the IFCO!

I must be the only person on earth who has absolutely no interest in seeing Batman :)

jothemama said...

Hi Tina - I wouldn't say that, I'm sure you're not alone :) The thing is, it is good - I would have enjoyed it much more if my mind hadn't been on smallies watching it!

problemchildbride said...

You're dead right, Jo - that was no film for children. You have got to wonder what seeing violence like that does to a 5-year old brain. I know for a fact that my own kids have a hard time figuring out what's real and what's not in movies a lot tamer than that. They talk about wanting to go to New York to take food to Annie in the Orphanage.

Good for you, for bringing it to the attention of people in a position to do something about it.

fatmammycat said...

Odd, I though 15A meant you had to be 15 before you saw it, and then you had to be accompanied. I didn't realise parents could take much smaller children. Too gruesome by far for little kids.

Selina Kyle said...

i'm obviously the exception but i disagree with you jo. i was watching horror films (exorcist, friday 13th, shining) when i was a little kid. i loved those films, i never had nightmares, so my parents never stopped me from watching it. it has not made me disfunctional in any way and in 30 years i have not yet gone on a killing spree :) maybe the kids who saw the film were that kind of kids. i do agree that the film is violent etc and not all kids or even adults are able for it, but if the kids can handle it, why not?

jothemama said...

Well, I can't argue with your personal experience.

But if you have to be a 'brave boy' to watch a film, you're too young for it.

And I don't believe children should be comfortable with watching scenes of torture, murder and madness. I don't see why that should be in their lives unless it's an unavoidable reality.

My daughter saw one horror film take-off moment on Scrubs by accident, nearly a year ago, and she's been sleeping with the light on ever since.

morgor said...

what does 15A mean?

over 15 or under 15 with an adult?

jothemama said...

15 is over 15. 15 A (accompanied) means anyone under fifteen can go if accompanied by an adult.

Voodoolady said...

I was listening to a debate about this on the last word yesterday.

The way I see it, the movie is clearly marked as unsuitable for kids. The issue of parents being irresponsible is a seperate one.

I saw movies such as Aliens, Terminator, IT at a young age (under 10), one of them was at school! I actually have fond memories of being a bit scared and boasting to my friends about seeing them.

I'm not advocating bringing a kid to see this movie if it is going to scare them shitless but it is the parents choice.

Also, what a movie - went again the other night :)

jothemama said...

My issue is with the certm which is presumably what guides a lot of parents. It tells them that this movie is suitable for small children as long as an adult is beside them.

In an ideal world, parents know their children's limits and make decisions about what they will enjoy.

The particular kids who were brought to this apparently handled it because they're used to watching age inappropriate violence.

That doesn't make it any better for me!

Twenty Major said...

15A means it'll bring you up the Whitehall Road.

jothemama said...

Careful Twenty, you're revealing your stomping ground. They'll seek you out. It'll be like Bono in Killiney. You'll have to dig a tunnel.

jblaz said...

Hi Jo.
I agree totally with you. I would actually go so far as to call it abuse to inflict a movie like that on a five year old. I am going to write to the IFCO too. I had a similiar experience when i went to see the second Lord of the Rings movie. In the row in front of me a dad sat with his two children aged 3 and 5 i''d say. They were clearly very distressed....covering their eyes and ears and crying. The dad didn't seem to give a toss and basically ignored them. I went out and complained to the manager and he said he could do nothing as although he thought it inappropriate too it was up to the parent as the movie was rated 12a. I was very upset and wanted to give the 'parent' a piece of my mind but tbh he looked like the type you wouldn't want to offend and in my heavily pregnant state i just left. I was so upset. It must be traumatic for such a young child to see images like those. I'm getting angry now the more i think about it. I have a ten year old and i wouldn't let him watch Lord of the Rings yet.

jothemama said...

Well, that's what I'm talking about - that's a horrible story. I also feel angry about your and others enjoyment of the film you paid into being so compromised. You should have had a right to demand some action on the part of hte management for that reason, if not for the welfare of hte children!

Send it to the man I wrote to - they're obviously listening, and aware there's a problem. I think it's only going to get worse, as kids are being exposed to more and more and getting more eager to be older than they are.