As my kids have grown, the choices of movies has become a little harder. With one 14 and the other 11, most kids’ movies aren’t very appealing, but many adult M-rated movies aren’t suitable either.
MA15+ is a legal restriction — kids under 15 can’t legally see the movie unsupervised, and although they can see them if supervised by a guardian, that rating doesn’t get applied for no reason. It’s almost always quite strong stuff. I don’t go there.
In contrast, M is just a recommendation, and the content can vary widely. I’m of the view that there are movies which are stronger than PG and fall into M without really being too bad.
So how does one determine which are suitable, preferably without watching them first?
One easy way is to check the ratings in other countries. The USA’s MPAA ratings include a PG-13 rating, for which there is no Australian equivalent. There are a number of movies which get PG-13 in the States, but M here, and my view is that generally these are okay for my kids to watch. Examples include all three Lord of the Rings films, Avatar, Star Wars episode 3, and the latest Star Trek movie.
It’s easy to look them up at imdb.com, and it also shows you the ratings in a variety of other countries. For Star Trek for instance it lists all of these:
USA:PG-13 (certificate #44847) | South Korea:12 | UK:12A | Netherlands:12 | Ireland:12A | Finland:K-13 | Singapore:PG | Norway:11 | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Australia:M | Portugal:M/12 | Italy:T | Canada:G (Quebec) | Canada:PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) | Brazil:12 | Sweden:11 | Philippines:G (MTRCB) | Hong Kong:IIA | Argentina:Atp | Peru:PT | Iceland:10 | Germany:12 | South Africa:10V | New Zealand:M | Mexico:B | France:U | Canada:PG (Canadian Home Video rating) | Austria:10 | Denmark:12 | Denmark:11
If more detail is required, ScreenIt.com has lots of information for recent movies, though you have to negotiate your way past all the ads to the list of all titles, and some are behind a pay wall.
I suppose everybody has a different strategy for this. That’s mine.