A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Several shootings, references to spousal abuse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very brief offscreen reference.
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Lots of bad language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the movie has violence, including shooting and murder, graphic drug use, very strong language, and sexual references and situations, including a child born out of wedlock. Characters drink and smoke. There is a reference to domestic abuse. A character attempts suicide. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
CITY BY THE SEA is an ambitious drama that never reaches any of its goals but has some watchable moments along the way. Vincent has survived since he was a child by being unarguably on the side of the good guys to distance himself from his father. He also distances himself from his ex-wife (Patti LuPone), his girlfriend, Michelle (Frances McDormand), and his son, Joey (James Franco, Spider-Man). The pain of his loss is so profound that he cannot bring himself to share it with anyone. Yet he finds himself continuing the cycle of abandonment, and when the movie starts, just before the drug dealer is killed, Vincent has not seen Joey in years.
This is another in the series of movies that the New York Times has called the 2002 summer of the sad fathers (with movies like Minority Report and The Road to Perdition), and, as in Minority Report, there is a maudlin watching-the-old-family-movies scene that feels very heavy-handed. Director Michael Caton-Jones handles the atmosphere well, and DeNiro, McDormand, and LuPone are always worth watching, though this is probably DeNiro's weakest performance, especially in his final scene with his son.
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Our Editors Recommend
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