By Andrea Beach,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Slow-paced coming-of-age tale has cursing, some violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
We're all connected in many ways, and we can't even perceive many of those ways. People aren't good or bad, it's just the choices they make; make better choices. It's easier to blame things outside ourselves than it is to see our own blame and accept responsibility. If you've done something wrong and harmed others, you need to apologize and make amends before you can move on. Restoring the wild wolf population to Yellowstone has had a tremendously beneficial impact on the ecology there.
Positive Role Models
Owen is a self-centered bully, unable or unwilling to empathize with or have consideration for anyone outside himself. But he's eventually able to change, becoming interested in others, studying and caring deeply about the wolf population of Yellowstone, and realizing that he won't be able to move on until he repairs the damage he did in the past. His mother and stepfather are loving but frustrated. His estranged father is quiet and detached, but is a patient, supportive guide in showing Owen how to be a better person.
Violence & Scariness
Bullying includes taking a classmate's pencil; throwing a stick at a dog; harassing, punching, and slapping a classmate, taking his grocery bag, and throwing the groceries away; and getting a choke hold on a classmate and threatening to kill him. Brief gore showing dead cattle that were attacked by wolves. An injured wolf has a bloody neck and spatters of blood on its paws. A car crash is shown that kills one teen and injures another; there's no gore, but blood is seen on one victim's shirt as well as a cut on the head. A teen points a gun at his own head while crying, then points the gun at a wolf but doesn't shoot. A teen says cigarette burns on his arm are from a game he used to play. A teen throws a beer bottle into a bonfire at a party.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild flirtation, a brief conversation about a cute girl, and silhouettes of teens kissing at a party. A woman mentions that she isn't able to have children. A parent talks with a teen about a past unexpected pregnancy and feeling panicked about it.
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"F--k" and variations, "p---y" (name calling), "goddamn," "Jesus" as exclamation, "hell," and "son of a bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink from beer bottles at a party. An adult has a bottle of beer at a campfire. Owen smokes several times. Teens smoking in the background a few times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Druid Peak is a quiet, slow-paced, coming-of-age drama. Violence is rare but includes physical bullying and wolves in peril with bloody injuries shown. There's also brief gore showing cattle killed by wolves. A car crash is shown that kills one teen and injures another. A teen points a gun at his own head while crying, then points the gun at a wolf but doesn't shoot. Profanity is rare but strong, including "f--k," "son of a bitch," and "p---y" (name calling). Positive messages are about learning to care for people and things besides yourself, owning up to your mistakes, and making good choices. Teens drink beer at a party, and Owen smokes.
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What's the Story?
In DRUID PEAK, Owen is a troubled teen. Unhappy at home and at school in his small West Virginia town, he lashes out at his family and bullies other kids. Owen gets into very deep trouble for his part in a car crash, which he tries to avoid by lying. Desperate to turn her son's life around, Owen's mother sends him to spend the summer with the father he's never met, who's a Yellowstone park ranger in Wyoming. Mostly left to his own devices, Owen starts taking long hikes through the majestic wilderness. A close encounter with a wolf sparks Owen's curiosity, and the more he learns about the wolves, the more he finds himself caring deeply about something other than himself. When summer comes to an end, will Owen be able to leave Yellowstone, his dad, and the wolves behind?
Is It Any Good?
This quiet, slow, coming-of-age drama's relatable story and solid but not stellar acting are both upstaged by the gorgeous landscapes of Yellowstone National Park. Druid Peak loses momentum and can start to feel aimless during some of the long, quiet stretches that mainly bask in the scenery. Sensitive animal lovers may be upset by the deaths of both cattle and wolves. The scenes are brief, and they're important to understanding the problems and successes of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone.
It's a good choice for a low-key but thought-provoking movie night with young teens and up. All ages can appreciate the reminder that there's a much bigger world out there, and that growing up means finding your place in it by thinking about others and not just yourself.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the strong language in Druid Peak. Is it realistic? How much is OK in movies?
Is returning wolves to Yellowstone a good idea? Should hunting them be allowed? Why or why not?
Everett tells Owen to make better choices. What does he mean? What are some things you could make better choices about?
- In theaters: March 28, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: June 23, 2015
- Cast: Spencer Treat Clark, Andrew Wilson
- Director: Marni Zelnick
- Studio: Indie Rights
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Adventures, High School, Horses and Farm Animals, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Integrity
- Run time: 111 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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