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Movie Review

Wild Child a.k.a. “Diva adolescente,” “Agrio koritsi,” “Garota Mimada,” “Megapetarda,” “Vadócka,” “Wild Child—Erstklassig zickig”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some coarse and suggestive content, sex references and language—all involving teens.

Reviewed by: Laura Busch

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Teen Comedy Romance
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 15, 2008 (UK)
DVD: November 17, 2009
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Featuring: Emma Roberts (Poppy), Lexi Ainsworth, Shelby Young, Johnny Pacar, Aidan Quinn, Natasha Richardson (Mrs. Kingsley), Georgia King, Eleanor Turner-Moss, Ruby Thomas, Kimberley Nixon, Juno Temple, Linzey Cocker, Sophie Wu, Shirley Henderson, Alex Pettyfer, Thomas Kijas, Sonia Rockwell, Kelsey Sanders, Vanessa Branch, Paul Butterworth, Selina Cadell, Daisy Donovan, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Nick Frost, Rusty O'Hara, Garrett Swann, Kara Pacitto, Katelyn Pacitto, Hazel Calderon, Hazel Dean, Tony Jeeves, Summer Perry, Jason Watkins, Carolina Bonetti, Victoria Bull, Henry Dankwah, Kris Edwards, Johnny Erasme, Romina Espinosa, Liz Findlay, Jessica Jann, Piers Mettrick, Dane Nielsen, Collin Pelton, Jessica Ritchie, Jessica Rizo, Mark Smith, Kaitlin Spelling, Karol Steele
Director: Nick Moore
“Love Actually,” “Notting Hill,” “The Full Monty”
Producer: Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Working Title Films, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Alexandra Ferguson, Diana Phillips
Distributor: Universal Pictures

When Poppy Moore (Emma Roberts), a spoiled, rebellious, and self-absorbed teenager from Malibu finally pushes her widowed father (Aidan Quinn) too far with one of her bratty stunts, he ships her off to a strict, all-girls boarding school in England in order to reform her.

From the moment that Poppy arrives at the school, she makes it clear that she thinks she is above this school’s strict rules and has no intention of conforming to them. She immediately begins working on a plan to get herself expelled. Much to Poppy’s surprise, as her classmates help her execute her plan, her rebellious and self-absorbed attitude begin to fade away, as she becomes friends with her classmates, and slowly gains more respect for the school’s headmistress (the late (Natasha Richardson), who believes that Poppy is capable of being a person of good character.

Objectionable Content

This film starts off on the wrong foot with Poppy shouting the profanity sh**. In many ways, this vulgarity sets the tone for the rest of the film and Poppy’s rebellious and defiant spirit. The use of profanity and other objectionable language is prevalent throughout the film. There are at least 6 uses of the s-word, approximately 6 uses of the a-word, and several uses of the word a**hole. The Lord’s name is profaned throughout the film (more than 6 times) by Poppy and her friends. Other profanities include more than 2 uses of the word bi***, 1 use of d****, and several uses of the British profanity, “bloody.” Other harsh language includes words such as: ‘sl***y,’ ‘wh**,’ ‘scr** you,’ and insults such as ‘horse face’ and the like.

“Wild Child” contains several scenes with somewhat scantily clad teen girls and shirtless teen boys. Poppy and her school friends purposely try to dress seductively in order to attract male attention. At a school dance, Poppy dances in a provocative manner to get a boy’s attention. Later, she exchanges several kisses with this boy.

There is an inappropriate and awkward discussion among the teen girls at the boarding school about how many boys Poppy has slept with, sexual positions, and bikini waxes. When Poppy is asked about how many boys she’s slept with, she proudly lists numerous boys’ names; we later find out that Poppy lied about sleeping with boys. Also, some of the boarding school girls attempt to fool a man at the liquor store into believing that they are old enough to buy alcohol. In another scene, the girls at the boarding school sit down to supper and begin to pray over the food, and Poppy begins loudly reciting a Hindu/Buddhist chant over their prayer.

Positive Content

While much of “Wild Child”’s content is offensive and inappropriate for a Christian audience, there are still some positive elements and moral lessons. Under the care of the school’s headmistress, Poppy’s bad attitude begins to improve, and she begins to feel remorse for her rebellious and disrespectful actions. Later in the film, Poppy even admits to—and apologizes for—her mistakes in front of the entire school and seems to have a truly contrite heart. In several scenes, the headmistress talks to Poppy about her bad behavior and explains to her that this school seeks to foster young women of good moral character. The headmistress tells Poppy she hasn’t given up on her and that she is confident that Poppy has the ability to be better, and that she knows there is a girl of high moral character underneath her rebellious exterior. As Poppy begins to listen to the headmistress, and her defiant attitude begins to fade away, she helps the school’s lacrosse team to work together and improve their skills.


While it was commendable that in the latter part of the film we see Poppy’s rebellious spirit fade away as she learns to respect authority and admit to her mistakes, much of this film is shallow and offensive. These moral lessons lack depth and are couched in a film littered with profanity and innuendo. I would recommend skipping this film, because similar moral lessons for young people may be found in other, less offensive films.

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments


Negative—My 2 daughters had seen the trailer for this film and asked repeatedly to watch it. My husband rented the movie, and we decided to watch it first—I sure am glad we did! Our whole family are film-lovers and have watched many, many films, but I certainly would not recommend this film, even for 14 years of age!

The story is of American “brat” who is sent to English boarding school, and I guess the story is intended to show “bad” girl turns good in the end, which is always a great opportunity to discuss moral issues with children. However, the emphasis is placed so heavily on the thing they get up to before that point that we found it quite disturbing. Scenes include getting drunk; raising the question of how many boys the girl had slept with; rebellion. The story focusses to much on the unhealthy exploits and there is only a small portion of the film dedicated to the turn-around of the character which is not enough to give the film moral credibility.

We are certainly not prudish about such issues being raised and our children know they can approach us and talk to us about any issues they see in the world around them but it just has a real unhealthy feel about it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—L Smith, age 40 (UK)
Comments from young people
Neutral—This movie is pretty cheesy, I have to say. It’s about a spoiled American girl who gets shipped by her father to a boarding school in England. She tries to get expelled, and does everything in her ability to do just that. “Wild Child” is moderate in profanity, and is sensual in some parts. Most girls my age would probably enjoy it. I’m not sure if I would recommend it, but it’s a cute movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Michelle, age 13 (USA)
Neutral—This movie had its ups, and it had its downs. Pretty much the whole movie, I was waiting for something to happen, however nothing happened, until the end. I did like the message this movie sent out though, don’t be a brat.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Bethany, age 12 (Canada)