A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gold was inspired loosely by a true story. It's about a fourth-generation gold prospector (Matthew McConaughey) who, along with an international geologist (Edgar Ramirez), strikes gold in the remote mountains of Indonesia. Despite McConaughey's star power, the drama seems unlikely to appeal to younger teens. There's a lot of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.), as well as constant alcohol use and cigarette smoke. There's also a spattering of violence -- including an intense moment when a character is thrown off of a helicopter to his death -- and some passionate kissing and sex scenes with partial nudity (tops of breasts, backsides). Still, the movie will make audiences think about what it means to make your dreams come true at all costs.
What's the story?
Based loosely on real events that happened in the 1990s, GOLD follows Nevada-based gold prospector Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) as he attempts to crawl his way out of a decade-long dry spell. He's following a dream that there's gold in Indonesia, a part of the world that famous geologist Mike Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) had claimed was ripe for a big strike. Maxing out his credit cards to visit Mike in Indonesia, Kenny convinces the geologist to become his partner: Kenny will secure small-time, first-round investors, and Mike will run the operation. The exploration starts, and they initially don't find anything. Then Kenny is struck with malaria and nearly dies. But when he awakens, Mike greets him with the good news that they's struck gold -- and lots of it. From the on, the duo starts a rollercoaster ride that includes Wall Street investors, Indonesian aristocrats, and lots and lots of money.
Is it any good?
McConaughey is virtually unrecognizable as a desperate, balding gold prospector in this uneven drama that's interesting but not as good as it should have been, considering the cast. The movie succeeds in making the gold industry seem sexy, dangerous, and mysterious, but the compelling premise drags in some places and races by in others. The supporting cast is full of fine actors, including Bryce Dallas Howard as Kenny's long-suffering girlfriend, Kaylene; Corey Stoll as a Wall Street banker; and Adam LeFevre as Kenny's loyal employee.
Director Stephen Gaghan is a capable filmmaker, but he doesn't quite seem to know how to tell a story that could've been as memorable as The Wolf of Wall Street but falls short. The story all comes together in the final 20 minutes, but there are many ups and downs along the way to a climax that's just not thrilling enough to make up for the inconsistent tone. While it's clearly an ambitious project, Gold is a bit of a disappointment. Still, ultimately, it's worth watching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Are the characters sympathetic? Are they role models?
What does Kenny mean when he says that, if you sell your dream, what do you have left? What's the movie's message about the power of dreams?
What audience do you think the movie is aimed at? How can you tell?
- In theaters: January 27, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: May 2, 2017
- Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard
- Director: Stephen Gaghan
- Studio: The Weinstein Company
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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