Nemo (Marlow Barkley) lives in a lighthouse with her father (Kyle Chandler) on a remote, rocky outpost in the middle of the sea. She knows everything there is to know about sailing, lighthouses and life on the ocean. Every night her devoted dad tells her stories about the adventures he used to have with his roguish partner, Flip (Jason Momoa), until one night he sets out on a rescue mission and never returns.
Suddenly orphaned, Nemo is sent to live with her Uncle Philip (Chris O’Dowd), a boring man she had never met, who sells doorknobs and lives alone. Each night, fighting off unbearable grief, Nemo finds herself in ‘Slumberland’. It is here that she encounters Flip and learns of a secret map that will lead her to magical pearls, capable of granting the bearer any wish they may desire. Wanting nothing more than to see her father again, Nemo convinces Flip to take her with him to the Sea of Nightmares, where the pearls are rumoured to be hidden. Together they must navigate a universe of dreams, each more dangerous than the last, all the while trying to avoid Agent Green (Weruche Opia) who has been trying to apprehend Flip for years; and trying to outrun a nightmare that smells fear and seems determined to find Nemo wherever she may be.
Death; death of a parent; separation from family; orphaned; loss of identity; grief/loss; nightmares; monsters; illegal activities; bullying; isolation; risk-taking behaviour
Slumberland has some violence. For example:
- Flip ransacks the lighthouse and goes through all of Nemo’s father’s things. He then shoves Nemo out of a high window, telling her to, ‘Wake up’.
- To dissuade Nemo from coming with him, Flip tells Nemo that she can die in someone else’s dream and that if that happens she will never see the waking world again.
- Flip kicks Nemo out of the way.
- Agent Green shoots at Flip and attaches a cord to his leg. She tries to pull him away from the truck that Nemo is hiding in. Flip is able to free himself when she swerves to the side and countless buildings crumble behind him, crushing her car. She drives out of the debris as the car repairs itself. The truck smashes into the sides of buildings and scrapes under overpasses while Flip and Nemo try to hold on and not get killed in the process. Agent Green eventually shoots out one of the truck’s tyres causing them to swerve off the dock and plummet into the water.
- Agent Green shoots Flip and Nemo, freezing them in mid-air.
- Nemo roughly shoves Flip back and forth and makes him knock over some cabinets.
- A frustrated Flip pushes Nemo to the floor by the head in the Butterfly Dream so that she can dance.
- Agent Green punches Flip in the face.
- Nemo shoots Agent Green with her freeze gun. While she is frozen, Flip knocks her into the sides of an elevator and catches her head in the door.
- Flip throws snowballs at Agent Green.
- The boom of a sailing boat knocks Nemo unconscious.
- A plane swoops at Flip and knocks him to the ground, where he must quickly crawl away so that he isn’t crushed.
- Flip punches a man in the face.
Slumberland has some sexual references. For example:
- Flip’s ‘raw, masculine, power’ is noted on a couple of occasions.
- A sexy dancer, who is really a nun, tells Flip that she, ‘smells his musk’.
- Flip suggests he might go to a bar and find someone’s ‘ex’, as there are lots of them in Slumberland.
- Flip says that he has everything that he wants: wine, women and waffles.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Slumberland has some substance use. For example:
- Flip says that he is going to go find a dream with a bar in it and then he will drink until he can’t remember who he is anymore.
- The End of the Line Bar is shown. It is assumed that Flip was inside drinking (though this is not shown) and martinis are clearly visible on the sign.
Nudity and sexual activity
Slumberland has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- There is a sexy, dancing girl wearing a tightly fitted, low-cut bodice with a stringy skirt that flies up every time she twirls around. She and Flip flirt and dance.
- Philip flirts with an educator from Nemo’s school.
Slumberland has some product placement. For example:
- Flip is attacking a Twinkie vending machine, trying to dislodge the snacks.
- Nemo’s stuffed pig eats a Twinkie.
Slumberland has some mild coarse language and name calling, including ‘loser’, ‘punk’, ‘smart aleck kid’, ‘what the flip?’, damn it’, ‘damn’, ‘Sassy Cindy’, ‘pathetic, little man baby’, ‘frickin nightmare’, and ‘pain in the aaa… applesauce’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Slumberland is a fantasy adventure, full of twists and turns. The film, which is based on an early 20th century comic strip, largely takes place in the ‘sleep state’ and gives the impression that dreams are sent to guide and help us, even when it doesn’t seem that way. This film is likely to appeal to families with tweens and younger teens.
These are the main messages from Slumberland:
- Being brave is about doing what you have to do even when you’re afraid.
- Don’t let grief or death change who you are or rob you of living your life.
- Don’t forget how to dream, and never lose your sense of wonder.
Values in Slumberland that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, courage, love, resourcefulness, determination and helpfulness.
Slumberland could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- Going off on your own, specifically onto the water, and not telling anyone where you’re headed
- Skipping school
- Lying to those you love
- Deceiving those in authority
- Living a life of crime and forgetting who you are
- Letting hurt feelings fester and destroy relationships.
It could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children the importance of:
- Supporting others when they are grieving
- Following rules
- Safe driving
- Sticking with your friends
- The realness of dreams.