Parents' Guide to

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Moving British drama has references to addiction, suicide.

Movie NR 2023 108 minutes
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry movie poster: Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton stand next together looking at the camera.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Lets Us Look Into Another Life

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry It would seem almost unlikely to find a film as dedicated to its uncommercial theme as ‘Harold Fry’. With all the ugliness being churned out in world movies today, this hits you like a window being opened onto a suffocating world. Jim Broadbent is little short of remarkable as Harold, a man on his way to deliver a long overdue thank you to a friend - his is a rendition so natural you forget it’s a performance. It’s quite clear everyone involved with this production has lived through some of the movie’s stirring situations. Kate McCullough’s cinematography is as natural as Broadbent’s interpretation of Harold, with locations constantly sought to please the eye. Rachel Joyce’s screenplay adaptation of her own novel perfectly carries its heartfelt message from its curious beginning to emotional finish. English traditional music specialist Sam Lee performs several original songs that fit nicely into Harold’s peculiar pilgrimage. Then there’s Ilan Eshkeri’s emotive score adding much to support the narrative. While a couple of minor scenes don’t hold up as well as they might (perhaps 2nd unit additions?) the overall impact tends to hold its own. It’s an odd premise, but here’s one for those sick of the abundance of over the top perversion, and violence, being dished out by seemingly ‘druggy’ writers --pushing the glorification of ugliness-- that’s poisoning so many motion pictures today. Want something a little different? Try this (PS: kids might be bored)

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

While this quaint British drama is an easy, enjoyable watch, there is a sense that it could have been better than it is. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry just lacks a certain spark, in either the charming, semi-whimsical narrative, or in the more profound, poignant elements. Instead, it falls somewhere in between. The plot is fairly simplistic; a man decides to walk the length of England, believing as long as he does so, his terminally-ill friend will stay alive. To buff up the near two-hour runtime, this pilgrimage is filled with strange, dramatic sequences that offer inane and pointless sub-plots, that may well work in the original novel, but in a feature film just don't quite fly. Broadbent and Wilton both elevate the material at hand. Yet what's most surprising is that for a film that gets to show off some of England's most picturesque landscapes, the visual spectacle doesn't quite match up with the performances.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate