image for Hampstead

Short takes

Not suitable under 12; parental guidance to 12 (adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Hampstead
  • a review of Hampstead completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 August 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children aged 12 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children aged 13 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: Hampstead
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length: 103 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Hampstead is based on a true story. Donald Horner (Brendan Gleeson), a proud Irishman, chooses to live a simple life in a shack he built himself on Hampstead Heath. Donald is his ‘own man’, growing the food he needs and generating his own electricity. However, developers have submitted a plan to knock down an old hospital to build luxury apartments and they need to evict Donald whose shack is close by. As it happens Emily Walters (Diane Keaton), an American widow, is looking through binoculars from her attic window one day when she sees Donald being attacked by two young men. She immediately calls the police and saves Donald’s life.

Emily is intrigued by Donald and, although initially reticent, the two slowly build up a close relationship. Much to Donald’s dismay, Emily employs the help of a local social activist (Hugh Skinner) to plead his case and when a group of activists set up camp on the Heath, Donald angrily sends them away.

After much persistence on Emily’s part, Donald eventually accepts her offer to hire a lawyer to fight his battle in court. He goes on to win his case and is given title to his home and land.


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.

Conservation versus development; Being self-sufficient.

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 some violence in this movie including:

  • Two young men break into Donald’s shack and start attacking him.
  • Emily yells at her husband’s grave about the fact that he was having an affair and that he’d left her with debts. She throws her shoe at the headstone.
  • Donald loses his temper on a couple of occasions. He yells at Emily and is angry with her for getting the activists involved. He yells at the activists and pulls their signs down. Another time he throws his cup in anger.

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.

Nothing apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes.

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.

Nothing apart from the above-mentioned violent 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.

Donald talks about his former partner who died of cancer. She told him to leave her as he wasn’t handling it well (she was older than him) and he did. He felt remorse for this.

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 of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A couple are seen kissing on the Heath.
  • James (Jason Watkins) is a sleazy accountant who offers to handle Emily’s affairs ‘with no strings attached’. It is obvious however, that he has other intentions and often reaches out and touches her hand. On one occasion he kisses Emily on the mouth.
  • Emily and Donald kiss briefly.
  • The other tenants of the apartment where Emily lives discover the bed that she and Donald have been sleeping in, in the attic. James says it’s like some kind of sordid sex den. Emily says ‘well you’ve found us out’ and ‘we’ve been going at it like two deranged rabbits’.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Donald is shown naked from the waist up swimming in the lake and taking a bath.
  • Donald and Emily are shown in bed together, fully clothed.

Use of substances

There is some social drinking on several occasions - at parties, with dinner, etc.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • oh my God; shit; for God’s sake; bastard; bloody; arse; Christ; wanker.

In a nutshell

Hampstead is a romantic drama with light comical moments, wonderfully portrayed in British comedy style. The scenery of Hampstead Heath is beautiful and it is uplifting to see a ‘David’ take on a ‘Goliath’ and win the day. While there is nothing particularly scary or violent in this movie, it is more suited to teens and adults due to its themes.

The main messages from this movie are to stand up and fight for what you believe, and that the simple things in life give more pleasure than lots of money.

Parents may also wish to discuss:

  • looking after the environment and living in harmony with nature
  • not being afraid to accept help when needed
  • respect for, and tolerance of, differences.