Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

image for Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Theme. Scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
  • a review of Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 November 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended for children under 8 due to themes and some disturbing scenes.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended for children aged 8-13 due to themes.
Children over the age of 13 Most children over the age of 13 should be able to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

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: Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, Infrequent mild coarse language
Length: 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Sarah Palfrey (Joan Plowright), recently widowed, decides to move to London to be closer to her daughter and 26 year old grandson. She chooses the Claremont Hotel as her place of residence so she won’t be a burden on her family. The Claremont isn’t quite what she expected although the other guests are quite interesting, if somewhat nosy, characters. Mrs Palfrey proudly talks of her grandson Desmond to the other guests who are very eager to meet him. Desmond however, doesn’t return his grandmother’s phone calls and the residents start to wonder if he really exists.

Mrs Palfrey meets a young unemployed writer, Ludovic Meyer (Rupert Friend), who turns out to have a lot in common with her, sharing a love of poetry, music and films. The two become good friends and he agrees to masquerade as her grandson to satisfy the Claremont’s residents’ disbeliefs.


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.

Death of loved ones, Family relationships

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.


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.

There are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Mrs Palfrey falls over quite dramatically and hurts her leg
  • Mrs Arbuthnot (one of the residents of the Claremont) collapses and dies
  • Mrs Palfrey falls down the steps in front of the hotel
  • Mrs Palfrey is shown lying in a hospital bed looking rather shaken. She also goes into a coughing fit.
  • Mrs Palfrey eventually dies.

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 be 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 aged eight to thirteen could be concerned by some of the above mentioned scenes and by the portrayal of Ludovic’s family relationships. Ludovic talks about how his father died too young and that he has a strained relationship with his mother. Mrs Palfrey goes to meet Ludovic’s mother who talks of the difficulties of raising him on her own and how disappointed she is at how he’s turned out.

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.

Although there is nothing of great concern, some adolescents could be upset by some of the above mentioned scenes in the movie.

Product placement


Sexual references

Ludovic mentions that he’s “never had so much fun with his clothes on”.

Nudity and sexual activity

Ludovic and his girlfriend Gwendolyn (Zoe Tapper) are shown in bed with no clothes on, embracing passionately. Nothing particularly graphic is shown.

Use of substances

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

  • drinking of alcohol in the restaurant
  • Ludovic drinks whiskey at home
  • Mr Osborne takes Mrs Palfrey to a woman’s night at the Masonic Lodge. He drinks a lot and asks Mrs Palfrey to marry him.

Coarse language

The word ‘shit’ is used several times in this movie.

In a nutshell

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is a moving drama, superbly acted by Joan Plowright and Rupert Friend. However it moves at a slow pace and as such would hold little appeal to children and young adolescents.

The main messages from this movie are to embrace life and to live in the present time that you have.

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

  • kindness
  • compassion
  • respect.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of maintaining relationships with loved ones and that inevitability of people dying.