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Red Dog Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Emotional dog tale features drinking, violence, and loss.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Red Dog is the story about the loss of a pet. The setting is the hardscrabble Australian Outback, and there's a great deal of drinking, scrappiness, some violence, a scene of attempted suicide, and a few deaths. The dog is called "cheeky bastard" and "dirty filthy whoring ham." There are also numerous visual gags/references to farts. The film is most appropriate for older kids, but it does have positive messages about pet loyalty and friendship that families will appreciate.

  • Families can talk about pet loss and the influence pets have on our lives. Have you ever had a pet that died? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with your sadness? How have your pets changed your lives?
  • Go online to learn more about the vast geography of Australia.
  • Red Dog is a stray who is taken in by a community. Go online to learn more about animals who've been abandoned and what communities can do to help reduce the number of stray pets.

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie espouses positive messages about loyalty, love, friendship, and courage.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Characters are odd, eccentric, cantankerous, kind -- while not always drawn deeply, they are memorable.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: There are scenes of fist-fights, threats of physical violence, an attempted suicide, and a few instances of death or injury referenced, but not shown. In one scene, a dog is shot, but survives. In another, a man dies in a motorcycle accident.  

  • sex false2

    Sex: A couple kisses sensually in two scenes. In another, a couple is shown waking up in bed together in the morning and kissing. A man imagines a woman giving birth, her legs extended in the air, but nothing graphic is revealed.

  • language false2

    Language: The dog is called "cheeky bastard" and "dirty filthy whoring ham." There are numerous visual gags/references to farts.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: In nearly every scene involving humans, there is alcohol involved. Most of the film is set in a bar, but several settings involve get-togethers where beer flows freely. Drunkenness is not depicted per se, nor is the booze shown as the cause of the violence or general roughhousing, but it's always present.