Struggling to cope with the death of his heroic father, Ridley (Milan Burch) is expelled from numerous New York schools. His grieving mother, Gloria (Victoria Hill), is left with no choice but to leave the US and seek out the only family she and Ridley have left – her husband’s estranged father, Spencer (Bill Nighy). Spencer lives on a sheep station in a remote region in outback Australia.
Despite the best efforts of Jules (Kelton Pell), his father’s childhood friend, Ridley hates his new life. He hates his grandfather’s indifference; he hates the isolation; and he hates the hard work. The only thing that Ridley enjoys is the camera his father gave him shortly before he died, and he does his best to capture interesting and unique things on film. Ridley also becomes inseparable from a solitary dingo that he saves from a bared wire fence and names Buckley.
Two local men want part of Spencer’s land. They show up late one night to burn down Spencer’s sheep shed, and Ridley starts filming them. They’re interrupted before they can really get started, and Ridley is forced to hide in the back of their truck. Ridley continues to film them at their hideout the following day until the men catch him and he’s locked up.
Ridley escapes into the outback. With Buckley’s help, he must try not only to find his way home, but also to survive against the elements of a hostile land.
Death of and separation from a parent; family breakdown; the struggle for survival in harsh and unfamiliar environments
Buckley’s Chance has some violence. For example:
- Spencer shoots at a dingo and tries to teach Ridley to do the same.
- Ridley shoves past three men on the sidewalk.
- A character is told that they need to have some sense knocked into them.
- Spencer threatens a man, saying that he’s standing in the way of a 12-gauge shotgun.
- Two guys punch each other before trying to set fire to Spencer’s sheep shed.
- Two men shoot at Buckley, with Ridley close by.
- Buckley kills a snake that’s about to attack Ridley.
- Some dingoes are closing in on Ridley. They’re about to attack when he begins to set the bush on fire.
There are no sexual references in Buckley’s Chance.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Buckley’s Chance shows some use of substances. For example, two men behave drunkenly when they arrive at Spencer’s property.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Buckley’s Chance.
There’s no product placement in Buckley’s Chance.
Buckley’s Chance has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Buckley’s Chance is a family-style drama with a fairly predictable storyline about a boy and his dog – or in this case, dingo. Preteens and foreign audiences who want a small glimpse of Australia are likely to enjoy this movie.
These are the main messages from Buckley’s Chance:
- You can’t have strength without struggle.
- Each of us has a place and if you persevere, you’ll eventually find your way home.
Values in Buckley’s Chance that you could reinforce with your children include the importance of family, the power of community, loyalty, courage, ingenuity and persistence.
Buckley’s Chance could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- taking the law into your own hands
- trying to scare someone into doing what you want
- acting in anger
- refusing to communicate or forgive.