I Don’t Know How She Does It

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Not suitable under 10; parental guidance to 14 (sexual references, coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for I Don’t Know How She Does It
  • a review of I Don’t Know How She Does It completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 October 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to sexual references and coarse language.
Children aged 10–14 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and coarse language. May also lack interest for younger children in this group.
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: I Don’t Know How She Does It
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, coarse language, nudity and sexual references
Length: 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a happily married mother of two beautiful children who also has a successful career as a finance manager.  Kate feel she has it all and can be it all, despite her husband, daughter and colleague being less confident about her ability to get the work-life balance right.  Her daughter Emily (Emma Rayne Lyle), struggles with her mother’s constant trips away, her co-worker Momo (Olivia Munn) cringes at Kate’s haphazard appearance and her husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) wishes only to be able to spend more time with his wife. 

When Kate scores an important account at work she is forced to increase her trips away from the family she adores and work closely with the handsome Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan).  Kate’s life begins to unravel with the new role and the additional responsibilities that both she and Richard need to take on to ensure things run smoothly, both at home and at work. 

Just as things reach boiling point Kate makes a career decision that has an impact on all those around her.


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.

Mother and children separated for long periods due to work commitments; Family stress; Potential infidelity.

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 noted.

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 noted.

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.

  • None noted.

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.

  • None noted.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • LG
  • Chips Ahoy
  • Pellegrino
  • Pret-a-manger
  • Lays
  • Perrier
  • Apple computers
  • Delta flights
  • Budweiser.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Kate states in an email that she has to go and ‘blow someone’ (referring to needing to impress someone to receive an account).
  • Sexual innuendo such as ‘please enter me’.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Kate and Richard attempt to have sex during one scene but Kate falls asleep.
  • One scene features a pole dancer in a club with men watching but only her feet are seen.

Use of substances

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

  • Social drinking, not to excess, by adults.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • hell
  • shit
  • Oh my God
  • blowjob.

In a nutshell

I Don’t Know How She Does It is the story of a working Mum who tries to do it all, but fails.

The main messages from this movie centre on commitment to family and reaching for what makes you happy.

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

  • gender equality
  • love, care and commitment

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

  • Gender in the workplace - Was Kate treated differently to her male colleague in the firm?  What messages does the film give about working mothers?  
  • Relationships - What did the film say about maintaining relationships with your spouse and your children? Do you think Kate’s actions represented her feelings towards her family?