The Last Bus parents guide

The Last Bus Parent Guide

This is a slow, tender-hearted family that will please fans of character dramas and bore audiences in search of action.

Overall B

Digital on demand: Recently widowed Tom sets out on a journey from Scotland to his hometown on in southern England, carrying only his bus pass and a small suitcase.

Release date February 18, 2022

Violence B
Sexual Content C+
Profanity B+
Substance Use C

Why is The Last Bus rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated The Last Bus Not Rated

Run Time: 86 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When tragedy compels Tom and Mary Harper to leave their home in Land’s End on England’s southwestern coast, they run as far away as they can, settling in John O’Groats, Scotland. There the couple live in marital harmony, tenderly caring for one another. Decades later, Mary’s sudden death sends Tom on a pilgrimage to put to rest the ghosts of the past.

Tom chooses to make his 800 mile trip by bus, a sensible choice for a pensioner with a bus pass entitling him to free transit. On his journey, he meets the best and worst of his fellow man, encountering bullies and bigots and being given hospitality by kind and generous souls. And throughout the film, his moments of common decency are captured on people’s phones, making him an unwitting star of social media.

The Last Bus is an unusual film. There’s no action, no adventure, and no villain. It’s a leisurely tale of an old man on a quest, whose greatest challenges are gradually revealed over the course of the story’s runtime. It’s that most old-fashioned of films, a character study, and as such the weight of the entire film is borne by Timothy Spall. Fortunately, he’s got the ability to infuse the film with his emotions, thereby giving it real heart. There’s a lot of emotion in this movie; certainly enough to have audience members weeping at the more heartbreaking moments. If you don’t like weepy films, this is one you should avoid. But if you like movies that celebrate persistence, faithfulness, love, kindness, neighborliness, and goodness, there’s a lot here for you.

Compared to most earnest dramas, this productionhas relatively minor levels of negative content. There are two scenes of bullying, some accidental injuries, implied marital sex, minor social drinking, and a single scatological curse word. If you’re thinking of watching this movie with tweens or teens, the content won’t be a deterrent. The subject will be though. I’m hard pressed to imagine any young person who will have the faintest desire to watch The Last Bus, let alone the patience to sit through it. This film is for movie fans who enjoy character studies and who are willing to sit quietly and watch the story unfold before them. Whether or not you think it’s worth the wait is up to you.

Directed by Gillies MacKinnon. Starring Timothy Spall, Phyllis Logan, Natalie Mitson. Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release February 18, 2022. Updated

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The Last Bus
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Last Bus rated Not Rated? The Last Bus is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: A man accidentally cuts his finger; some blood is visible. A woman threatens someone with a baseball bat. A man cuts his head which bleeds. A man harasses a veiled woman. A young man knocks an elderly man over. There is a motor vehicle accident that results in minor injuries. A person vomits blood. A main character is seen lying dead on the ground. Spoiler warning: There is a brief scene of a bassinet containing a dead baby who is covered with a blanket.
Sexual Content: Woman have inflatable male figures with visible genitalia. There are muffled noises implying sexual activity in another room. A married couple kiss and embrace in bed; there is non-explicit, clothed sex.
Profanity: There is a single scatological term and two crude expressions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man is intoxicated in public. People are drinking alcohol in public and acting drunk. Adults drink alcohol in social situations.

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The Last Bus Parents' Guide

English poet John Donne once wrote that “No man is an island”, meaning that we are all interconnected and our actions inescapably affect one another. How does Tom affect the people he meets on his journey? Do you think any of his actions have a lasting impact on their lives? Have you ever considered how your choices or actions affect the people around you? Are there any choices you could make that might have positive impacts on the people with whom you interact?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Pixar’s classic animated film UP has a montage that features a similarly moving story of a relationship and also stars a widowed husband going on a voyage in his wife's memory.

Bereavement is a key plot element in Rabbit Hole, MASS, The Starling, Swan Song, The Lost Husband, The Shack, and Return to Me.

Movies about loss that can help parents initiate conversations with kids and teens include Coco, Soul, Over the Moon, We Bought a Zoo, A Monster Calls, Charlie St. Cloud, Ride Your Wave, and The Sky Is Everywhere.