Story

Satellite Boy is about a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy, Pete (Cameron Wallaby). Pete lives in an abandoned outdoor cinema with his grandfather Jagamarra (David Gulpilil) in Kimberley. Although his grandfather lives by the traditional ways, Pete dreams of his mother returning from her hospitality course in the city and of opening a restaurant together with her.

A construction company tells Pete and Jagamarra that they must vacate the cinema because the site is going to be used to build storage containers. So Pete decides to travel into the city to plead their case. He takes his best friend Kalmain (Joseph Pedley) along for company.

During their journey, the boys must live off the land to survive. Despite running out of food and water, taking many wrong turns and needing to evade the police, the boys make it into the city. More adventures and challenges are waiting for them there.

Themes

Friendship; independence; freedom versus duty; culture and tradition

Violence

This movie has some violent scenes:

  • Early on in the movie, the two boys come across some fuel in an abandoned shed. They fill up some bottles, with rags hanging out the ends. They set the rags alight. The boys throw the burning bottles into a wrecked truck nearby and watch as it catches fire and explodes into flames.
  • Kalmain needs to distract some construction workers so that Pete can find the manager of the company. Kalmain pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot if the men come any closer. Pete comes back and struggles to get the gun out of his friend’s hand. One shot goes off in the air.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the scenes mentioned above. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that might disturb children aged 5-8 years. For example:

  • Kalmain obviously has a very strained relationship with his mother. When Kalmain comes home one day, his mother looks at him with disdain and disappointment. She just asks him whether he brought her some cigarettes and then leaves.
  • Although Pete’s mother has gone away to the city to study a hospitality course, both his grandfather and Kalmain believe that she has abandoned Pete forever. They keep telling him that she won’t come back. The thought upsets Pete too much, and he refuses to listen to them. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Satellite Boy is a heart-warming tale of one boy’s determination to protect the place he calls home.

During the story, Pete realises that his cultural roots mean far more to him than he ever imagined. He learns the value of the survival skills his grandfather taught him, and he realises that the appeal of the city doesn’t really last. Although the movie touches on some of the darker issues affecting indigenous youth, the uplifting ending – with Pete fully embracing his cultural heritage – demonstrates the growth and transformation that people can go through.

The movie shows the consequences of running away from home. It also sends a clear message that violence is almost never a good solution and sometimes makes matters worse.

Younger children might find some of the scenes and the family relationships of the two young boys disturbing. But there are many interesting issues to talk about with older children.