British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 120m 56s

Release date 25/11/2011

BBFCInsight Contains strong language and sustained psychological threat

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Jeff Nichols

Cast includes Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Whingham

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 15/11/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

TAKE SHELTER is a psychological drama about a young husband and father who starts having terrible nightmares which he believes to be premonitions of an imminent apocalypse. The film was classified '15' for strong language and sustained psychological threat.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12' state 'the use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent'. There are five uses of strong language, three of which are shouted aggressively and accompanied by violence in a fight between two men. The aggressive context and the frequency of use meant the film was more appropriately classified at '15' where the Guidelines state 'There may be frequent use of strong language'.

The Guidelines at '12A'/'12' also state 'Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained'. Throughout the film there is a persistent atmosphere of psychological threat, including visions which have a physical impact upon the central character. This includes bleeding and bed wetting during nightmares. There are also a number of disturbing scenes in which characters are physically and psychologically threatened, including a young deaf child. Although the film charts a man's mental breakdown, the impact of his breakdown results in real world threat against his family. The harrowing presentation of mental collapse, with no reassuring resolution, is more suitably placed at '15' where the Guidelines state 'No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds' and 'Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised'.

The film also contains a moderate sex reference to 'looking into a threesome'.


The Works UK Distribution Ltd.
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
120m 56s
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