Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) and his family Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley), and Benjamin (Colin Moody) spend the days stealing vegetables from the garden of Mr McGregor (Sam Neill) and having fun with their neighbour Bea (Rose Byrne). But one day a new Mr McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) moves into town and throws the rabbits’ lives into chaos. Peter and his family must use their resourcefulness to fight for the garden and for Bea’s affections.
Death of a parent; crime; cruelty to animals; allergies and anaphylaxis
Peter Rabbit has some violence. For example:
- There is a running joke in the movie about the animals always ‘accidentally’ hurting the birds. This includes running into them, falling on top of them, hitting them when they meant to hit someone else and so on.
- The movie begins with a scary-looking fox chasing Peter to try and eat him. Peter and the fox later become friends.
- Throughout the movie both the McGregors try to kill Peter and his friends in various ways. This includes trying to trap them, attacking them with rakes, using electric fences and bombs, and so on. Peter and his friends retaliate and try to kill the McGregors as well.
- Peter tries to kill McGregor by attacking him with berries that he’s severely allergic to. McGregor starts to go into anaphylactic shock and has to use an EpiPen.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Peter Rabbit has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- Peter and the other rabbits say that old Mr McGregor is evil. Because both the McGregors often try to catch and kill the rabbits, the men might be a bit scary to young children.
- A rabbit says that if his foot gets stuck in a trap he’ll just chew it off.
- Peter explains that both his parents are dead and that Mr McGregor killed his dad and put him in a pie. Peter is very upset about this.
- Old Mr McGregor has a heart attack and collapses in the garden. Peter pokes his eye to make sure that he’s dead.
- McGregor blows up the rabbits’ home with all their memories of their parents. The tree then falls on Bea’s house and destroys her paintings. Both Bea and Peter are very sad.
- A rabbit looks as if she has been hit by the explosion and is about to die, but it turns out that she’s fine.
Children in this age group might be scared or disturbed by the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might be scared or disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above, but there isn’t much of concern for this age group.
Nothing of concern
Peter Rabbit has some sexual references. For example:
- Young Mr McGregor and Bea flirt with each other throughout the movie and eventually kiss and fall in love.
- A rooster expresses regret for ‘fertilising all those eggs’.
- The rabbits joke that Benjamin’s jacket buttons look like nipples.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Peter Rabbit shows some use of substances. For example:
- The animals have a raging party in the McGregor house. Peter eats a carrot that seems to make him ‘high’. The fox wakes up with a hangover.
- The animals drink out of martini and wine glasses, although it isn’t clear what they’re drinking.
Nudity and sexual activity
Peter Rabbit mentions nudity. For example:
- The fox runs through the house without clothes on and someone yells, ‘Streaker!’ The joke is that the fox always looks like that.
- Peter pulls down Mr McGregor’s pants.
There is no product placement of concern in Peter Rabbit, but plenty of associated merchandise is being marketed to children.
Peter Rabbit has some coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Peter Rabbit is a beautifully made movie based on the books of Beatrix Potter. But the movie is a comedy action adventure, and it’s very different in tone from the kind and friendly books.
There’s a lot of violence in this version of the story, and Peter and his siblings aren’t great role models for children. Bea, however, is kind and thoughtful and she also stands up for her beliefs.
Peter Rabbit isn’t recommended for children under 7 years, and we also recommend parental guidance for children aged 7-12 years. This is because of the movie’s scary and violent elements and the scenes of inappropriate behaviour, which children might copy. The scene in which the rabbits attack someone with berries to which the person is severely allergic is particularly concerning. Peter’s stated belief that people claim to have allergies that they don’t actually have is also concerning. This is an issue to discuss with children.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Sharing love is not losing love. A parent’s love is infinite, and if a parent loves someone else it doesn’t mean the parent loves you any less.
- Remember to think about others, not just yourself.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- forgiving others and being kind
- owning up to, and apologising for, your mistakes
- valuing family.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about whether it’s OK that Peter Rabbit steals vegetables because ‘the wildlife belongs to the animals – it was their place first’. Is the position of rabbits different in Australia where they are an introduced species?