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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Indie drama is well made but extremely grim and brutal.

Movie R 2014 118 minutes
Joe Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

Brutal, realistic, with an actually very good Cage

Anyone who's been on the internet for over a year can tell you Nic Cage is the king of B-movie schlock, but he's (hopefully) turned his career around with this gritty, depressing depiction of a man just bound to not get his life together. He's well-respected in his backwoods neighborhood, except by Willie, a man born to pick fights with the likes of Joe. His interactions with these characters, most importantly Gary, who he's a bit of a role model to, build who the man really is. It was unexpectedly violent, with some very un-Hollywood sex scenes and a lot of cursing, so it's mostly for mature teens looking for some alternative, southern drama.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Young Sheridan (also in The Tree of Life and Mud) gives a strong performance in an emotionally difficult role. But it's Cage who, after two decades' worth of rather terrible movies, proves once again that he's a real actor, capable of pushing himself to dangerous lengths. Gary Poulter, who shows genuine menace as Gary's nasty father, was a local homeless man who had never acted and died after the film wrapped.

Director David Gordon Green has divided his time between broad comedies (Pineapple Express, The Sitter) and thoughtful, lyrical dramas (Snow Angels, Prince Avalanche), but this is the first time he's descended into a world as violent and as hopeless as the one in JOE. Fortunately, Green is as observant as ever, and he not only conjures up a vivid, self-contained universe, but peoples it with fascinating, damaged characters. No matter how lowdown they may appear, Green seems to understand their humanity.

Movie Details

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