Story

Paper Planes is about Dylan Webber (Ed Oxenbould), a young boy who lives with his father Jack (Sam Worthington). His mother has recently died in a car accident. One day at school, the students are given the assignment of making paper planes and getting them to fly further than 25 m. They are told that the world record is 69.13 m. When Dylan’s plane stays in the air long enough to fly around the entire grounds of the school, his teacher encourages him to go in a real competition. 

Dylan successfully makes it through the Australian National Competition, along with another student named Jason (Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke). During the Nationals, a student from Japan, Kimi (Ena Imai), visits to inspire and mentor the Australian students. Dylan begins to develop deep feelings for her. Dylan and his father have a garage sale to raise money for a ticket to Japan, but Jack is still feeling too depressed and grief-stricken to go with Dylan.

The day before the world finals in Japan, Jason deliberately pushes Dylan down a flight of stairs to injure him. Dylan sprains his wrist, and doubts whether he will be able to compete. But Dylan goes through with the competition after a session of acupuncture. To his joy, his father arrives to see him compete.

Themes

Relationships and family; death of a family member and associated grief; competition

Violence

There is some violence in Paper Planes. For example:

  • Another student named Kevin throws a ball of paper at Dylan, while standing on his desk. Dylan throws it back and causes Kevin to fall off the table.
  • Dylan slams the door after an argument with his dad.
  • After visiting an old museum and stepping into a stationary plane, Grandpa and Dylan imagine a war scenario in which enemy fighter jets shoot at and damage the plane. 
  • Jason throws a small paper-made blade at another competitor, hitting him in the back of the head.
  • Jason pushes Dylan down a flight of stairs, causing Dylan to sprain his wrist the day before a big competition.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Paper Planes has some scenes that could scare children under the age of five years. For example, the boys fire a rocket up, and it almost hits them when it comes back to the ground suddenly.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Paper Planes has some scenes and themes that could upset young children. For example, Dylan’s mother has died in a car accident five months earlier. Dylan is coping well, but his father is still severely depressed and can’t care for him properly. 

From 8-13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Paper Planes includes some sexual references. For example, when Dylan goes to visit his Grandpa in a nursing home, people refer to Grandpa having sexual relations with the women in the home. After Grandpa approaches a woman, Dylan asks, ‘Are you gonna help her out too?’

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Paper Planes: Skype, Nokia, Apple devices and Gameboy.

Coarse language

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Paper Planes is an inspirational and heart-warming movie. Dylan’s determination helps to ignite passion in everyone around him, as he works to overcome incredible obstacles.

After the death of Dylan’s mother, Dylan’s father has fallen into a deep depression and has stopped taking care of Dylan. As a result, Dylan is forced to study planes and flight on his own, make new friendships, and attempt to win the world championship for paper plane flight. He does all this while also helping his father come out of his depression. 

The movie highlights the strength of character that can develop as a result of overcoming challenges, as well as the importance of building strong and supportive relationships. It is a holiday movie for the whole family, although children under six years might need parent help with a few scenes and themes.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • acting independently to overcome obstacles
  • being creative and seeing the value in doing something unique
  • having supportive friends, and taking chances with romantic relationships
  • supporting your family and standing by them when they’re going through difficult times. 

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:

  • the devastating impact of grief, loss and depression
  • the nature of bullying, and the impact it can have on people who are affected
  • the positive and negative aspects of competition, as well as the sacrifices and determination it takes to succeed.