infrequent strong language, moderate sex, sex references

In this tender romantic drama, an ageing man and woman meet and form a connection over a series of walks, bonding over their experiences and shared sense of loneliness.

Key classification issue: language

Language was a key classification consideration for this film. It contains seven uses of strong language (‘f**k’), which is more than is typically permitted at 12A/12 – our guidelines state that strong language should be infrequent. However, the context in which language occurs can also be very important for the
classification decision.

In 23 Walks, five uses of strong language are used in quick succession in a scene tinged with comedy, in which a man repeatedly strikes a bush with a branch. He is reprimanding himself for his behaviour and is overcome with regret. The language is therefore self-directed, which our research has shown is less impactful and offensive than uses angrily directed at someone else. The comedy and intent also help to reduce the strength of the language.

Elsewhere in the film there are two further uses of strong language: one of which is comic and whispered, only just being audible, and the other is said quickly in frustration.

Another factor we consider is who is speaking. In 23 Walks, the strong language is said by older adults who are unlikely to inspire young teens to emulate their behaviour. Our research has shown that for many people, especially parents, a concern with language is content that may normalise it and encourage children to repeat the words they hear on-screen.

In this case, given the speakers are adults and much of it was infrequent, self-directed or comic in delivery, we were able to classify the film 12A for infrequent strong language, moderate sex, sex references.