Sony Picture’s newly released film, Peter Rabbit, has attracted criticism, after a scene within the film depicts a gang of bunnies launching blackberries at a character who is allergic to the berries. The 2018 release – a modernised, comical adaptation on the original Peter Rabbit books by Beatrix Potter – has been lambasted by concerned parents, suggesting that this depiction of bullying could lead to dangerous situations for their children with allergies. One twitter user has described the disgust she has about the allergies being depicted as a “joke”, saying that the actions shown in the film are “felony aggravated assault”.
Thomas C Murray, an American educational entrepreneur, has also striked out on Twitter, saying “this scene will make you want to vomit”. It is key to point out both are parents of children with allergies. However, others have pointed out that the film is no exception from children’s films with darker messages. Samantha Keeley, who has to deal with being lactose intolerant, has not been concerned by the film’s depiction, stating “all children’s stories have ‘evil’ messages inside them; Humpty Dumpty is basically suicide. It’s just mere humour”.
Meanwhile, some just disregard the film completely, stating that the main issue isn’t in the depiction of the allergies, but just the film itself. David Head, a BA Hons Digital Film Student at Ravensbourne University, has been critical of the film itself in the way it uses star value, saying “It’s some James Corden vehicle, I doubt much thought was put into making it at all”. This is a view that has been very much reflected in early reviews; with only 5.9/10 on International Movie Database, and only 58% on popular review website Rotten Tomatoes. The film has so far only been released in the USA, with the UK release date set to be March 16th (2018).