Story

Tortoise in Love follows Tom (Tom Mitchelson), a compassionate but anxious gardener with very limited experience when it comes to romance. When a beautiful Polish au pair named Anya (Alice Zawadski) visits his small village for the summer, Tom immediately falls for her. But when his attempts at seduction appear to be moving at an almost non-existent pace, the villagers take it upon themselves to give him a much-needed push in the right direction. Also involved is Harry (Tom Yates), the young son of the couple for whom Tom gardens.

Themes

Marital discord and divorce; parental neglect of children; mental illness

Violence

This movie has limited violence. For example:

  • It shows a mildly graphic flashback in which an drunk elderly man shoots another person in the village fields. The man is so ashamed of his actions that he has steered clear of the village for years. A young child, Harry, refers to this shooting when he asks his grandmother, ‘Isn’t he the man that shot grandpa?’
  • When Tom is talking to another man about how he convinced his wife to date him, the man says he wrote a large sign and left it for her. The sign said, ‘Marry me or I’ll shoot myself’.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

This movie has some scenes that could disturb children under eight. For example:

  • As a young boy, Harry is often neglected by his parents. Harry’s father is presented as a cold, unpleasant and even cruel man. No-one in the village likes him. At one point, Harry’s father tells Harry in passing that dogs are often very obedient, just as he should be. Harry is obviously upset by his father’s words.
  • Harry’s parents tell him that they’re getting a divorce and try to talk with him about his feelings. Harry seems upset.
  • Harry is sent off to boarding school for several months and separated from his family and friends. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

This movie has a lot of sexual references. For example:

  • A woman working at the café Tom goes to says she bought breast implants as a birthday present to herself. There are several references to these implants throughout the movie.
  • When a women working at the café is asked if she has a boyfriend, she replies that she did, but that he had been unfaithful when he ‘loved my best friend in his car’.
  • Some women in the café are discussing their sex lives. One of them says, ‘I wish more people would send their children to boarding school, so they could spend more time with their dogs’. Then she starts barking like a dog in a highly suggestive way.
  • When Tom is phoning various villagers, the scene shows one person answering the phone in bed. He keeps saying ‘yes’, getting louder and more excited while still under the covers. Tom hangs up the phone looking confused and disturbed.
  • The women at the café discuss male ‘buns’. They stare at Tom’s buttocks as he walks past and tell him that he has ‘nice buns’.
  • Two men are watching a woman organising the village féte. One says, ‘Look over there – she’s one of the top three in the village. When she bends over, those fairy cakes … oh’. At the same time, their voices are being accidentally broadcast over the speaker system to everyone at the féte.
  • In the café, Anya is talking with another woman about Tom’s refusal to ask her out. The friend asks, ‘Do you want me to shag him for you?’ 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters drink socially at the local pub throughout the movie.
  • As Harry is about to leave for boarding school, his grandmother asks him what he should be careful about. Harry replies, ‘Say no to crack cocaine’. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • As the movie opens, the camera pans up to a couple sitting on a bench and kissing passionately. The voice-over narration says this is the village’s ‘kissing seat’.
  • A woman is trying to teach Anya how to flirt. She demonstrates by staring very suggestively at a man, looking away and then glancing back once more. The man looks more excited each time she does it.
  • While running in a race a man passes a window where a woman wrapped in a sheet yells out ‘Oh Billy!’ The man quickly runs into the house and jumps into bed with her. Later he catches up with the others in the race, and the other men pat him on the back.
  • Anya is alone with Tom in a locked shed. She points to her lips and says, ‘This is Heathrow Airport’. Then she points to his lips and says, ‘This is plane 319, cleared for landing’. Then she leans in to kiss him. The scene cuts to a shot of them kissing passionately on the village’s ‘kissing seat’. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Tortoise in Love is a light-hearted romantic comedy about the often challenging experience of falling in love. As Tom seeks advice from other villagers about how best to woo the girl of his dreams, audiences are given a small insight into the intricacies of human relationships, as well as tight-knit village life. If you have younger children, you might note that this movie has a lot of sexual references, as well as distressing scenes of a young boy’s unhappy relationship with his father.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • having a sense of community and social connections with friends and family
  • taking chances when it comes to love and being prepared to tell people about your feelings
  • being able to laugh at yourself and not take life too seriously.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:

  • how your children view and treat people of the opposite sex
  • what marriage means
  • how problems can come up in relationships
  • what your children think about divorce.