Parents' Guide to

Castle in the Ground

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Downbeat but powerful story of drug addiction.

Movie NR 2020 107 minutes
Castle in the Ground Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+


Clean good

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

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

A downbeat depiction of the early days of the opioid epidemic, this drama doesn't offer much new in the story department, but the excellent, sustained performances make it very much worth seeing. Coasting through a grayish, low-key haze, Castle in the Ground strikes a good balance between soapy melodramas about drug use (Ben Is Back, Beautiful Boy, etc.) and hyper-extreme movies like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream. It stays focused on character, rather than sensation. Without driving the point home, Henry blames himself for his mother's death, and he's a young man who's simply trying to manage his intense pain. (He also feels betrayed by his faith, as his regular praying to save his mother's life failed to yield results.)

Ana, on the other hand, has become a master manipulator, doing small favors for Henry, showing him kindness, and then quickly demanding favors in return. "She would sell your soul for something this big," says one character, his fingers indicating the size of a tablet. Henry and Ana perform a harrowing but moving dance of despair as they spiral around each other and downward. While only appearing in the first section, Campbell is likewise outstanding, trying to balance humor and bravery with her unbearable pain. The believable supporting characters and excellent production design -- in her apartment, Ana sits in a woven deck chair like it's a wretched throne -- help make Castle in the Ground feel all the more genuine.

Movie Details

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