A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While the film is about gangsters, the ones who succeed seem to understand that, even in their shady business, it's important to keep your word and honor your agreements.
Positive Role Models
Joe is a gangster, but he doesn't especially like to kill people, which is a bit of a handicap in his chosen profession. His business partner, Dion, is loyal and trustworthy, but the same can't be said for some of the people they work with, which tends to lead to very violent confrontations.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody action throughout the film, including car chases that end in deadly explosions, shoot-outs, fist fights and more. Characters are brutally beaten, pistol-whipped, shot at close range, and gunned down in a hail of machine-gun bullets. The body count is too high to count, and almost all of it happens on screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex scenes, but no graphic nudity, and more is implied than shown. One scene briefly shows photos of a naked woman in a compromising position.
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Frequent swearing throughout, including "a--hole," "s--t," "t-ts," "hell," "damn," and "f--k." Also racial epithets for Irish, Italian, and African-American people, including the "N" word.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The film is about bootleggers and set during Prohibition, so there's plenty of drinking, but nobody gets very drunk. Several of the characters also smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Live by Night is a Ben Affleck-directed (and starring) drama about Prohibition-era rum-running Bostonian mobsters who take their business to Florida. Based on the book by popular crime writer Dennis Lehane, it's filled with bloody violence, including shoot-outs both up close and from afar, brutal beatings, explosive car chases, and more. The body count is almost too high to count. There's also smoking and illegal drinking, sex scenes (though nothing gets too graphic), briefly seen photos of a naked woman in a compromising position, and strong language (including "s--t," "f--k," the "N" word, and more). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For a film about mobsters and Miami rum running that's headlined by big stars, this drama is shockingly slow, devoid of momentum and energy. Except for the pivotal final showdown --- a literal guns-blazing scene that finally pushes viewers to the edge of their seats -- Live by Night ambles from plot point to plot point, aided (or should we say hampered?) by an overly explanatory voiceover. Affleck's motto seems to be "Tell, don't show.
What a waste. Because the story itself is rich in possibilities, the action slinging from frigid Boston to balmy Florida, the characters an assortment of pain and ambition, rage and dysfunction. Stand-out cast members include Miller as Joe's troubled first love and Elle Fanning as a good-girl-gone-bad-gone-evangelical. Affleck himself is sadly inert as Joe -- though as a director, his visual imagery has punch. As a book by Dennis Lehane, Live by Night was a page-turner; as a film, it's a maddening slog.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.