By Australian Council on Children and the Media
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  • Parental guidance recommended
  • Not recommended for children under 8
  • Parental guidance for children under 8
  • Suitable for children under 13
  • Contains coarse language
Genre Comedy
Length 93 minutes
Release Date 28/8/2008


Arvilla Holden’s (Jessica Lange) husband Bill has recently died and she is finding it hard to come to terms with the loss of the love of her life. To make matters worse, Bill’s daughter from a previous marriage, Francine (Christine Baranski), arrives on the scene demanding her father’s ashes be returned to California and buried next to her mother. Arvilla had promised Bill to scatter his ashes and refuses her request. Francine however, threatens to sell Arvilla’s house, as she says she has a will (old) proving she is the rightful heir to the property, unless Arvilla agrees to her wishes. Reluctantly Arvilla agrees and sets out on a journey across America with her two Mormon buddies Margene (Kathy Bates) and Carol (Joan Allen) and Bill’s ashes in a jar, in Bill’s old Bonneville convertible.

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.

Coping with death

Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

There is some violence in this movie including when Carol gets her handbag stolen at a petrol station by a young couple. A fight follows with all three women getting involved.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children may be disturbed and confused about the idea of someone’s ashes being in a jar and then scattered.

From 8-13

Children in this age group may also be disturbed about the idea of what happens to someone after death

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including some drinking and gambling in a casino.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement


Coarse language

This movie contains some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Bonneville is a gentle comedy about three women confronting changes in their lives and celebrating life set in stunning scenery across the great American west.

The main messages from this movie are that we should celebrate life and make the most of the time we have. Values in this movie that you might wish to discuss with your children include friendship, love and commitment.

This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children what happens to a person after death.

  • Last Reviewed 2008-10-24