On a Clear Day

image for On a Clear Day

Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for On a Clear Day
  • a review of On a Clear Day completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 May 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended
Children over the age of 13 Should be ok 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: On a Clear Day
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language, Mild themes
Length: 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Frank (Peter Mullan) has worked at a Glasgow ship yard for the past 35 years and now at 55 finds himself redundant. Feeling desperate as to what to do with his life, he starts to look for a new direction. A casual remark from friend Danny (Billy Boyd) that ‘on a clear day he could swim to France’ sets Frank on a course to swim the English Channel. He starts swimming seriously but keeps his plans from his family, loving wife Joan (Brenda Blethyn) and son Rob (Jamie Sives).

Rob is a stay at home dad who lovingly and over protectively looks after his twin sons. Rob, himself a twin, lost his brother to a drowning accident when young. Father and son both hold on to guilt about the event which causes tension between the two and an inability to have a proper relationship.

While practising at his local pool, Frank is impressed by disabled youngsters who come to the pool and overcome great difficulty to proudly swim the width of the pool. This gives Frank much courage to continue with his goal of swimming the Channel, as do his old work mates who are very supportive of him. When the time comes for Frank to swim the Channel, he overcomes much more than physical exhaustion and manages to put behind him the past which has restrained him for so long.


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 a child, disability

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 one violent scene in which Rob confronts his father in the pool and they have a fight.

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 scene, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • an employee made redundant at the same time as Frank, deliberately chops his hand off in a machine to gain compensation. This isn’t actually shown, but talked about.
  • the disabled children at the pool are actually disabled and are shown walking with great difficulty. One is confined to a wheelchair and is obviously mentally disabled.
  • Danny attempts to do a long distance swim also but gets into difficulty. He goes into convulsions and Frank has to rescue him out of the water. He is then taken to hospital
  • a flashback is shown of Rob’s twin brother drowning. Frank goes in to rescue him and carries him out of the water but is unable to revive him. This scene is quite distressing.

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 scared or 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 aged eight to thirteen could still be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

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.

Children over the age of thirteen probably wouldn’t be scared but could still be upset by the young boy drowning.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coke
  • Heinz ketchup.

Sexual references


Nudity and sexual activity

No actual nudity but several scenes of men undressing in change rooms, showering and one man losing his trousers.

Use of substances

Quite a bit of beer drinking, at home and the pub.

Coarse language

There several instances of coarse language in this movie, including:

  • arse
  • shit
  • bloody
  • bugger
  • oh my God
  • piss.

In a nutshell

On a Clear Day is a. humorous yet poignant film that would appeal to many adolescents and adults. In looking for a new direction for his life, Frank overcomes personal demons that have always haunted the relationship between himself and his son. The main message from this movie is one of overcoming adversity and endurance.

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

  • friendship
  • respect and tolerance
  • overcoming adversity
  • endurance
  • importance of families
  • equal gender roles.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of being able to discuss problems with others and not keep them bottled up.