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A Far Off Place Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

African survival tale not for sensitive animal lovers.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that sensitive animal lovers need to proceed with caution in the first scene where poachers kill elephants and saw off their tusks. More disturbing is the murder of the teen leads' parents -- a main character sees them after they are shot and dynamites the murderers' cars. As the main characters flee for their lives (and are shot at more than once) they learn to work together to survive and deal with their loss. Nonnie is a strong teen character girls will love.

  • Families can talk about adventure movies and far off places. What are your favorites? What makes this one thrilling? Does it make you want to visit Africa?
  • Families can also talk about the loss here -- of the characters' parents and of so many elephants that the bad guy stood to make millions for their tusks. How realistically do Nonnie and Harry deal with both?
  • Talk about Nonnie. Do you see this type of character often in movies? What makes her admirable, and not-so-admirable?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Dealing with loss, respecting wildlife, and overcoming great odds to survive resonate here. There's not a big divide among Africans and white people here like in some other movies with similar themes; the main bad guys are white, some poachers are African, and the main protagonists are white but travel with an African whom they respect greatly.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Nonnie is a very strong teen girl character who has adapted so much to her African home that she carries a rifle to scare away predators and helps her father use dynamite to dig a well. Harry goes from eye-rolling, headphone-wearing teen boy to a hardy survivor who even tries to learn the native tongue. Their friend Xhabbo is a wonderful mentor to both of them, helping them deal with loss, come together in a crisis, and survive the desert.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Right off the bat viewers see elephants shot by poachers and tusks sawed off; a baby elephant survives and prods at the dead elephants around him. The poachers are then shot by the game warden. Nonnie sees her parents and Harry's dad after they are shot; one corpse is in bed and another is on the floor in a pool of blood. Dynamite explodes in a few scenes with some casualties. Nonnie, Harry, and Xhabbo run for their lives in the desert and are almost killed by gunfire. Their dog is attacked by a pack of dogs but survives. Xhabbo gets bitten by a scorpion.

  • sex false1

    Sex: One kiss.

  • language false2

    Language: "Bulls--t" is said once. Plus one time each for "bastards," "damned," and "Goddamn it."

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: An adult smokes in one scene.