About Time

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Not suitable under 14; parental guidance to 14 (coarse language, sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for About Time
  • a review of About Time completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 October 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not suitable due to coarse language and sexual references.
Children aged 14 Parental guidance recommended due to coarse language and sexual references. .
Children aged 15 and over Ok 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: About Time
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language and sexual references
Length: 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Richard Curtis’ About Time is a poignant and heart-warming romantic comedy about love, taking chances and having the power to shape your own future. After Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21, his father (Bill Nighy) informs him that the men in their family can travel in time. Although they cannot alter history or significant historical events, his father tells Tim to use his power to create the life that he truly wants. At first, Tim attempts to relive specific situations to make his sister’s beautiful friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie) fall in love with him. However, he discovers that he cannot change all things when she fails to fall for him irrespective of his time travel.

Upon moving to London where Tim stays at his Uncle Harry’s (Tom Hollander) house, he meets a girl named Mary (Rachel McAdams) on a blind date. He immediately falls for her, and they exchange details with the hope of seeing each other again. However, after using his power to change history and help his uncle, Tim realises that Mary’s phone number has been lost from his phone and that the date he remembers no longer look place in reality. Tim travels back in time to meet Mary once more, and they fall quickly in love with one another. 

Although Tim’s life with Mary and their daughter is perfect for quite some time, he eventually learns that his father has terminal cancer. Tim travels back after his death to visit him and extend their time together. However, Mary falls pregnant with their second child and Tim realises that he has to put an end to time travelling.


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.

Love and romance, family, time travel, fate, death and illness, marriage

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.

There is limited violence in the film, including:

  • Tim gets hit in the back of the head and bottom with a tennis ball, while playing tennis with his sister Kitkat and Charlotte.
  • Kitkat is in hospital after a car crash – some bruises and cuts are seen on her face, and she says she wasn’t completely sober at the time of the incident.
  • Kitkat punches her ex-boyfriend in the face after she travels back in time with Tim, and changes her future by choosing a different path.


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.

None of concern

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.

Tim’s father dies of cancer – none of this is shown on screen but the characters attend a funeral for him.

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 upset by the death of Tim’s father

Thirteen and overinfo

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Tim’s uncle Harry points to a picture in his living room, and tells Tim “That’s my daughter. Have sex with her if you like. Apparently everyone else has.”
  • Tim asks Mary over dinner to describe a friend of hers they are discussing, and she jokingly says “she’s basically a prostitute”.
  • After Harry’s play is negatively received, and Tim suggests that he may be able to help, Harry asks “What are you going to do? Offer every critic in London a blowjob?”
  • Mary lets Tim into her house after their date, and says “I’m going to go into the bedroom to put on my new pjs. And in a minute, you can come in and take them off.”
  • Mary’s parents arrive at her house unexpectedly, and Mary tells Tim that her parents don’t know they are in a serious relationship yet. Tim asks Mary “Are we having sex?” to which she replies “Yes, but not oral”. Later that day, Tim awkwardly and accidentally tells Mary’s parents that they are “not doing oral”, to which they appear shocked.
  • Tim’s friend Rory says in relation to Charlotte, an old crush of Tim’s: “She’s so beautiful that if you had sex with her, you’d die. You’d open her shirt and see her breasts and explode.”

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Tim’s sister Kitkat and her friend Charlotte, are seen wearing bikinis.
  • After travelling back in time to a New Year’s Eve party, Tim kisses a nearby girl passionately.
  • Tim and Mary have sex three times, as he rewinds time in order to do things perfectly and better each time.
  • Mary takes off one item of clothing for every wedding-related decision that Tim makes, and ends up in her underwear.

Use of substances

There was some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • At a New Year’s Eve party, people are seen holding beers and other alcoholic beverages. The people at the party appear quite intoxicated.
  • Harry pours himself wine whilst standing in his apartment and speaking to Tim.
  • Tim and Mary share a glass of wine over dinner.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • fuck
  • little shit
  • arsing lunatic
  • ginger twerp
  • dickhead
  • smartarse
  • Oh my arsing god!

In a nutshell

About Time is a charming film about love, loss and living in the moment. Coarse language and sexual references make it unsuitable for children and younger teens, but it has plenty to interest and entertain those aged 15 and over. Tim’s journey reflects the innate desire of human beings to connect with another individual who will accept you unconditionally and be a partner in every aspect of life. Although cloaked with the fantasy concept of time travel, this film ultimately speaks to the importance of making the right choices to shape your life, and of making the most of life.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Living each day to the full
  • Never giving up when you want something passionately, even when there are innumerable obstacles in your way.
  • Always being open to new opportunities and possibilities that present themselves.
  • You can never force another person to fall in love with you.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • How our actions may affect the lives of those around us.
  • The importance of compromise in a relationship, and discussing issues such as marriage and having children in an open and honest manner.
  • Knowing that happiness and life satisfaction doesn’t come from how rich a person is.
  • The consequences of terminal illnesses such as cancer, and the struggles a family can face while mourning a loved one.