Emu Runner is about an Aboriginal family in outback Australia struggling to come to terms with the untimely death of their mother.
While grieving husband and father Jay Jay (Wayne Blair) learns to be a single parent to three children, eight-year-old Gem (Rhae-Kye Waites) starts regularly disappearing into the bush, having forged a bond with a wild emu. An important and mythical bird from her dreamtime ancestry (according to her mother), Gem believes she can speak to it, as her mother could before her.
After the arrival of Heidi (Georgia Blizzard) – an inexperienced and naïve social worker from Sydney – the family struggles to stay together. When Gem’s brother Ecka (Rodney McHughes) gets involved in drugs, and Gem starts skipping school to steal food to feed her new friend, tensions rise between the family and the authorities. As Gem is about to be taken away from her family, Heidi finally understand the reasons for Gem’s behaviour and realises that Gem and her family are better off together, to heal and grow.
Death of a parent; substance use; family separation; stealing
Emu Runner has some violence. For example:
- Ecka gets into a scuffle with another man. They shove each other, but neither is hurt.
- Ecka is seen in hospital with stitches after the fight with the man.
- Jay Jay is seen in a brief scuffle with the man who hit Ecka.
Emu Runner has some sexual references. For example, people make jokes about Ecka having many girlfriends.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Emu Runner shows some use of substances. For example:
- Ecka drinks many beers on numerous occasions. It looks like he’s developing a drinking problem.
- A girl asks Ecka to buy her drugs, which he gets Gem to deliver for him. Gem doesn’t know she’s carrying drugs.
- Two eight-year-old girls accidentally drink alcoholic punch, which makes them vomit.
Nudity and sexual activity
The following products and brands are displayed or used in Emu Runner: Friendly Grocer, Toyota, Mazda, Iveco, Volkswagen and Schweppes lemonade.
Emu Runner has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Emu Runner is writer/director Imogen Thomas’s debut movie. An important story about grief and Aboriginal community, this movie will likely be most enjoyed by an adult audience and families with older children.
The main messages from this movie are about supporting each other when times are hard and trying your best.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- supporting your family and community
- being a good friend
- not judging a situation until you understand things properly.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- driving while looking at your phone
- using alcohol and other drugs
- running onto roads without looking.