Story

Girl Asleep is a quirky and whimsical coming-of-age story set in 1970s suburban Australia. Greta (Bethany Whitmore) has moved into a new neighbourhood and is about to turn 15. Life is embarrassing enough, but when her parents (Amber McMahon and Matthew Whittett) decide to throw her a birthday party she feels completely out of her depth. As the guests arrive, Greta is overwhelmed. She’s thrown into a dream sequence that takes us deep into her imagination. 

Themes

Growing up; fitting in at school; peer pressure; bullying; sexuality and sexual consent 

Violence

Girl Asleep has some physical and verbal violence. For example:

  • There is a scene where Greta must fight the school bullies. This involves punching, kicking and damage to property.
  • The school bullies make a tape for Greta’s birthday party, with an abusive song about her. They play it to all the party guests.
  • Greta has an argument with a friend and calls him a ‘homo’. She later apologises.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Girl Asleep has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • When Greta is in the world of her imagination, she sees strange creatures coming out of the woods. She finds herself trapped in a dark and endless forest where wild, howling animals chase her.
  • Greta meets strange characters in the dark forest. The characters look like her parents and friends, but they’ve been transformed in monstrous and scary ways.
  • Greta meets a ‘frozen woman’, who turns her to ice. The scene with the frozen woman includes many visual distortions and effects, which young children are likely to find disturbing.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Girl Asleep has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • The popular girls at Greta’s new school bully and humiliate Greta.
  • Greta hears her parents having an argument.

From 8-13
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Girl Asleep has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, there’s a scene where Greta’s sister’s boyfriend tries to seduce Greta in her bedroom. He’s mildly forceful with her when she resists. There is no assault but there is an implied threat.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might find some of the scenes mentioned above disturbing. They might want to talk about them with an adult.

Sexual references

Girl Asleep has some sexual references. For example:

  • Greta’s sister has a boyfriend, and the movie implies that they have a sexual relationship.
  • Greta’s sister’s boyfriend is extremely flirtatious with all the female characters.
  • The popular schoolgirls have a conversation about how to kiss boys.
  • Greta’s best friend asks her if they can become more than friends.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Girl Asleep shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Adults smoke, and teenage girls hold cigarettes.
  • Adults drink wine.

Nudity and sexual activity

Girl Asleep shows some sexual activity. For example, Greta’s sister’s boyfriend tries to seduce Greta in her bedroom. There is a mild implied threat of sexual assault, but Greta stands up for herself and nothing happens.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

Girl Asleep has quite frequent coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Girl Asleep is an original, funny and warm look at the inner world of adolescence. It explores what it feels like to become comfortable in your own skin as you grow up and mature. Although the movie is very quirky and surreal at times, it portrays anxieties and fears about growing up that are universal and real.

There are several scenes in this movie that are likely to scare younger children. Because of these and its themes, sexual references and coarse language, the movie is best suited to teenagers.

The main messages from this movie are that things that make us feel anxious, uncomfortable and worried might not be as bad as they seem, and we can overcome them.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include kindness, friendship, bravery and assertiveness.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about sexual consent and bullying behaviour.