Parents' Guide to

City by the Sea

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Ambitious, improbable and very violent cop drama.

Movie R 2002 108 minutes
City by the Sea Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

Is It Any Good?

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

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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