Australian Council on Children and the Media

Late Bloomers

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Not recommended under 13, Parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Themes; Sexual references; Coarse language, Lack of interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Late Bloomers
  • a review of Late Bloomers completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 September 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references, coarse language and themes. The film is also likely to lack interest for this age group.
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and themes. May also lack interest for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Late Bloomers
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Late Bloomers tells the story of an internationally renowned architect Adam (William Hurt) and his wife Mary (Isabella Rossellini), a retired school teacher and the ways in which they respond to the challenges of becoming old.

Mary concerns herself with her apparent memory loss and becomes involved in a volunteer group, the Grey Panthers, which is headed by her vivacious best friend Charlotte (Joanna Lumley). Adam, after becoming dejected with his new project, designing a retirement community for real-estate mogul Richard (Simon Callow), begins to dress more like a twenty-year-old and surrounds himself with young and upcoming assistants.

The different approaches to growing old taken by the couple lead to them become estranged and their three children James (Aidan McArdle), Giulia (Kate Ashfield) and Benjamin (Luke Treadaway) step in to prevent their parents from joining the growing population of newly divorced over sixties. However, when Mary’s mother Nora (Doreen Mantle) becomes ill with cancer Adam and Mary are forced to re-evaluate their relationship.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Aging and retirement; relationships; illness

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

none of concern

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Mary, wearing a hospital gown, sits on a scanning table after having a brain scan and there is conversation about Mary’s belief that she has Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nora lies on an ambulance stretcher after having collapsed in a court room.There is talk about Nora having had stomach cancer for some years.
  • In a later scene we see Nora’s funeral with mourners and a closed coffin. Later we see a raised burial mound, and hear Adam and Mary discuss how it will be their turn next.     



Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple iPhones
  • Red Bull energy drinks
  • Reference to Viagra

Sexual references

The film Late Bloomers contains a number of low-level sexual references. Examples include:

  • A man tells Adam “You shagged Emma”. 
  • In reference to a woman a man says “Her act’s a turn on”.
  • A man makes reference to women having “Young nubile bodies”.
  • A group of older men and women discuss having sex in a retirement village   
  • Richard makes reference to a woman as having erections of “a completely different type” and in reference to a woman, tells Adam “You should have shagged her in the office”.
  • Richard tells Adam that he can’t take Viagra due to having a pacemaker.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Adam and Mary are seen in bed together, covered, with Mary lying on top of Adam Adam gets out of bed wearing boxer shorts.
  • A man lustfully looks at a woman wearing tight fitting jeans
  • Mary makes an attempt to attract the attention of male patrons in a bar by unbuttoning the neck buttons of her shirt and walking in a sexy way. The attempt fails, but the bar tender flirts with Mary, telling her that while the men in the bar might be blind he isn’t.   
  • One scene depicts Mary and Adam in the bath. We see their heads, naked shoulders, Mary’s bare legs and Adams bare chest.
  • We see a reflected image of Mary and a man (fully clothed) kissing passionately. The next morning, Mary sits on a bed buttoning her shirt with the man in the background.
  • A young woman and Adam kiss passionately on the lips. She walks into her bedroom and returns apparently naked, although only her bare shoulders and back are visible. She approaches Adam and the scene ends.  
  • While Adam and Mary are having sex, hidden by bedclothes, Mary asks in an accusing tone, “Who taught you that?”  Adam’s reply suggests that his aging body and lack of flexibility are the reason for his newly acquired technique.

Use of substances

The film Late Bloomers contains occasional use of substances. Examples include:

  • Adam smokes in one scene
  • Adam drinks beer in a pub with a group of younger people. Later we see Adam at home in a moderately intoxicated state. The next day we see Adam holding his forehead as though suffering a hangover.
  • Champagne is drunk at an art exhibition

Coarse language

  • Sluts, screw him, bitch, sly dog, shit (used in a variety of expressions), shagged her, how the hell, and arse.  

In a nutshell

Late Bloomers is a romantic comedy about aging which targets at an older adult audience. The film has an excellent cast and contains some very clever humour which makes serious comments. Although the film’s target audience should find the film both entertaining and relevant, younger viewers may find the subject matter lacks interest and be bored.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Growing old is a challenging and turbulent time of life and is not as one of the film’s characters puts it “for sissies”. 
  •  Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

      perseverance through adversity and change:

Parents of older children who see the film may wish to discuss the impact of casual sexual affairs on Adam and Mary.

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