MARGARET | British Board of Film Classification
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MARGARET <span>(2011)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 147

Release dates 02/12/2011

Ratings Info Contains very strong language, strong sex, a gory accident scene & drug use

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Kenneth Lonergan

Cast includes Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Kieran Culkin, Matt Damon

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

  • Suitable only for 15 years and over icon15

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 22/11/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

MARGARET is a US drama set in New York City. Teenager Lisa Cohen witnesses a fatal bus crash for which, having distracted the driver at the critical moment, she holds herself partly responsible. After initially giving a false account of the accident to police, she has a change of heart and sets about trying to ensure that the driver is punished. Her obsession with the aftermath of the accident has a serious effect on both her schoolwork and her relationship with her mother. The film was classified '15' for very strong language, strong sex, a gory accident scene and drug use.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck'). The strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable'. There are four uses of very strong language and about 25 uses of strong language. Two of the uses of very strong language occur during an argument between Lisa and her mother in which they trade insults. The uses are angry rather than aggressive or threatening. An additional use in this scene is partially obscured. Towards the end of the film, Lisa uses the word again when she is frustrated by the fact some parties to the accident appear more interested in receiving financial compensation than seeing the guilty bus driver punished. Again, the use is uttered in frustration rather than being particularly aggressive or clearly directed.

The Guidelines at '15' also state 'Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail'. The film contains a sex scene in which Lisa invites a young man to her home to take her virginity. The sexual activity takes place in the dark and only limited nudity is visible. Masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio and intercourse are all briefly implied but the scene is very discreetly shot and includes no strong detail.

At the beginning of the film a pedestrian is run over by a speeding bus. The impact is not shown but during the aftermath of the accident a blood-streaked leg is seen protruding from beneath the vehicle. After this, we see that the rest of the victim's body is lying several feet away, implying that the leg has been completely severed, although there is no explicit detail of this injury. Some onlookers attempt to perform first aid, with one man receiving a spurt of blood onto his face and shirt as he attempts to apply a tourniquet. The Guidelines at '15' state 'The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable' but the scene is filmed in a relatively discreet fashion.

MARGARET also contains infrequent portrayals of drug use. In one scene Lisa and a female friend are clearly sharing a joint as they lie on their backs on a bed. In another scene, Lisa and a young man inhale what appear to be poppers. However, the film as a whole does not promote or encourage drug misuse.



Cinema, DVD
Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent.,20th Century Fox Film Co. Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
BBFC reference

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