Digging for Fire

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Digging for Fire Movie Poster Image
Strong performances drive thoughtful, mature marital drama.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 85 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Marriage is about overcoming differences and challenges and committing to be together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite their nights away from each other, the main characters come back together and commit to their marriage. Lee has supportive, caring parents who want the best for their grandson.


Two men get into a fight (off camera) at a bar, and one man walks back in with an injury that requires medical attention.


A skinny-dipping scene includes brief graphic male nudity. A married couple showers together and makes love. A married woman kisses someone who isn't her spouse. A man brings two women to a party for the sole purpose of hooking up.


Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "bulls--t," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink to excess, smoke cigarettes, and do recreational drugs like cocaine and pot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Digging for Fire is a relationship dramedy that takes place over the course of a long weekend, during which a married couple have different experiences: his a booze- and coke-filled guys' night in (complete with two young women ready to hook up) and hers going out for drinks ... only to wind up kissing an attractive man who came to her rescue. Expect frequent strong language (particularly "f--k" and "s--t") and occasional drinking (sometimes to excess), drug use (pot, cocaine), smoking, and sexual situations -- including brief graphic nudity during a skinny dipping scene.

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What's the story?

DIGGING FOR FIRE is a relationship dramedy starring Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt as thirtysomething married couple Tim and Lee, who are staying in Lee's yoga client's beautiful bungalow with their toddler son, Jude (Jude Swanberg), for a long weekend. While walking around the property, Tim unearths a gun and what he believes is a human bone. Lee tells him to drop it, but when she and Jude head to her mother's house (Judith Light) for a night so that Time can stay home and presumably work on their taxes, Tim ends up having a drunken guys' night in and enlisting his friends' help to dig in the backyard for more clues about the mystery of his findings.=

Is it any good?

Featuring his cast of regulars and an intriguing central plot point, Swanberg's latest relationship story is well acted, if not particularly memorable. Swanberg and Johnson have collaborated before, as has most of the ensemble cast, who are somewhat of a troop for the Chicago-based filmmaker. DeWitt and Johnson are achingly authentic as a couple old enough to be married with a kid but young enough to have friends who are still living the hook-up-and-get-wasted lifestyle.

Once Tim and Lee part ways for some separate time (he stays in the bungalow to take care of family business, while she heads to her wealthy mom and stepdad's, played perfectly by Light and Sam Elliott), the stories divide, but Tim's gets the lion's share of screen time. While he has all of his friends (Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, Mike Birbiglia, etc.) digging for clues, Lee is busy debating her well-heeled mother about not sending Jude to a fancy preschool and then heads out for a much-needed night alone on the town, where she meets a handsome pub-goer (Orlando Bloom). How Tim and Lee comport themselves apart is fascinating, and it's ultimately the leads' performances that make this drama shine just enough to keep you interested, if not enough to make this a must-see.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Digging for Fire presents drinking and drug use. Do you think Tim and his friends party too much? Does their behavior seem believable? What are the consequences for their substance use?

  • What's the movie's message about marriage and relationships? Were you surprised by how the film ended? Do you think it's believable that a married couple would act that way?

  • Joe Swanberg is known for semi-improvised dramas. Does this movie seem somewhat improvised? Do you prefer improvisation in comedies or dramas? Why?

Movie details

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For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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