A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is a dark and dreary world, peopled by junkies, neglectful parents, drug dealers, corrupt cops, and morally bankrupt city officials. They lie and hurt to protect themselves and their livelihood, sometimes to the detriment of a child's life.
Violence & Scariness
Heavy and brutal, and a sense of menace pervades the film. Guns are trained on people at point-blank range and fired fairly frequently, killing more than one victim (one scene reveals what happens when someone is shot in the head). Realistic, painful barroom brawls. Crimes are perpetrated against children, who are also severely neglected.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing and sexual innuendos, but nothing explicit. Some references to sexual acts.
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Strong and frequent, including "c--ksucker," "pu--y," jackass," and the always-popular "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Nothing really obvious. Names of some drugs and the occasional store signage.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Viewers don't really see any explicit scenes in which characters shoot up or snort drugs, but there's lots of talk about it, including discussion of "bumping rails" (snorting drugs) in bathrooms and doing heroin. Plenty of drinking, especially in dark, seedy bars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this crime thriller (which is Ben Affleck's directorial debut) is so disturbing in spots that it may even make adults flinch. It doesn't shy away from the story's dark elements -- of which a 4-year-old's abduction is just the beginning. There's also neglect, drug use, barroom brawls, gunplay, murder, and plenty of strong language (including "f--k"). That said, older teens and grown ups who do end up seeing it will likely be able to look past the base, repugnant characters and appreciate the leads, who are compassionate and dedicated and fight for justice. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
An impressive, confidently helmed vehicle that ably mixes grit with heart, Gone Baby Gone lays to rest any impression that Affleck's talent, much-lauded in the Good Will Hunting days, is no more. From the first frame on, Ben Affleck's affection -- and, more important, his respect -- for his native city is palpable; rather than romanticize it, he presents it as is, with the ugliness intact. Much has been made of the lengths he took to be authentic (he shot in Dorchester and cast locals in nearly every scene) and it pays off. The movie thankfully lacks the gloss of many other crime movies, even those that are well done (like Out of Sight, for example). Even the twist ending feels less like a device and more like an essential plot development. Lehane's story is grim, as is the film's palate and tone. It may even outdo another lauded Lehane-inspired film, Mystic River.
The film does take time to find its footing early on, slightly hobbled by too much exposition (this is the drug dealer; here's the possibly corrupt cop; etc.). And Angie's character is sadly lightweight (though Monaghan gives it the old college try). But Gone Baby Gone quickly gets into a groove, thanks in no small part to a stellar cast -- can Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris do wrong? -- and a script, penned by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, that isn't afraid to be ambiguous and complicated. Much like this new incarnation of Affleck himself.
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Our Editors Recommend
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