When is a child old enough to see a 12A film?


“Can we go to the cinema to see the Huntsman’?” inquired daughter three, who is a bit of an ardent fan of Chris Hemsworth. Her older sister is very keen on Chris Evans and her brother loves Iron Man which makes The Avengers Assemble almost the ideal film in our family. “Can I come too?” asked only son. I investigated local cinemas. Oh dear. It is a 12A, whatever that is. I asked daughter one to do some research as I am not up to date on ratings.

It seems a 12A is recommended for 12 years and up, but parents can take younger children at their own discretion. Only son is five. “Search up will I look like a bad parent if I take a five year old to a 12A,” I asked daughter one after we had checked out the content of the film. Only son has seen bits of the first film on any account and was not unduly perturbed. It is very hard to keep him away from films that are older than a U because no-one else in the house wants to watch them. Daughter two is currently into spoof horror films. When she is not gazing on Chris Evans, daughter one is into deep – often dark – psychological stuff. I have to keep turning them off.

Daughter one found a Mumsnet chat forum entitled “should you let young children watch a 12A”. I am not a usual frequenter of the Mumsnet chat forum or indeed anything where someone might attempt to tell me what to think or do. We scrolled down. There was a comment by someone saying Spiderman was a 12A. We have watched the entire Spiderman series – both the first trilogy and the Amazing Spiderman version. Oh dear. The comment from the mum continued along the lines of she would never take her six year old to see a Spiderman film as six year olds have no interest in or understanding of Spiderman. You what??? Only son has Spiderman armbands. Are they manufactured for 12 year olds? I think not. Spiderman came to only son’s fifth birthday [in the guise of daughter two. Don’t tell him]. We rang Spidey in New York to invite him and he said he would be delighted to swing by. Only son is anticipating a return visit for his sixth birthday and some jumping off buildings. Last time Spidey said he was feeling a bit down so his jumping off building powers were not working.

After reading further about The Huntsman I decided it would be better to wait for a late showing and leave only son with his dad, although The Huntsman is based on a fairy tale and who are fairy tales – and nursery rhymes – directed at if not young children? I had read him a Hansel and Gretel story only the night before.

As per usual, it was a race against the clock to get to the cinema in time after my partner got home. I primed the team in customary fashion for a last minute dash. We got in just under the wire and even got to see the ads – for a Captain America film, no less [daughter one has already got it in the diary].

The film was very long and the special effects very impressive. For some reason, fairy tale people are not American; only superheroes are American. Even the good guys in The Huntsman were either British or a slightly weird combination of Scottish-Irish-American-Australian. Chris Hemsworth was, I think, going for Robert the Bruce. He failed. In some parts he was virtually incomprehensible. It didn’t really matter as the dialogue was not the main thing.

The film ended, as so many seem to do these days, with the possibility of even more follow-up films. If things continue in this vein only son may eventually be old enough to see at least one of them.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.

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