Gold

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Gold Movie Poster Image
Compelling but uneven treasure-hunt tale has drinking, sex.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 121 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The overarching message is that there's power in trying to make your dreams come true -- and that people are willing to overlook details if they think they're going to hit it rich.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kaylene is a devoted girlfriend who supports Kenny through thick and thin. Kenny is persistent about his vision that there's gold in the Indonesian jungle. Mike is passionate about his work, despite his eventual actions.

Violence

Someone punches Kenny in the face. Kenny and Mike push and wrestle each other. A character is pushed out of a helicopter into the jungle; the dead body is found and photographed.

Sex

A couple of sex scenes, passionate kisses, and a glimpse of a couple naked in a hot tub (tops of breasts, backsides). Kenny is shown in his underwear dozens of times throughout the movie, but it's only sexual in the actual love scenes. A woman seductively flirts with a man and vice-versa.

Language

Frequent strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," "motherf-----s," "goddamn," "bulls--t," "c--k," "pr--k," "p---y," "t--ties," "hell," "ass," "bitch," etc.

Consumerism

Products/brands seen include Sanyo, Winston cigarettes, Seagram's, PBR, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Kenny drinks so much that he's nearly always drunk. He often drinks first thing in the morning. Various characters chain smoke.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRicky J. July 22, 2017
It's a hair too long; but it's interesting the way governments, wall street, banks and the true risk takers operate. Each one trying to screw over the... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byarianagrande June 24, 2017

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 ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of substance use and abuse in Gold. How is drinking treated in the movie? Is it glamorized, or are there consequences for overdoing it? Why does that matter?

  • 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?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas and thrillers

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