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Parents' Guide to

Live by Night

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Sluggish, uninspired mobster drama has lots of violence.

Movie R 2016 128 minutes
Live by Night Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Ben Affleck delivers a slightly disappointing and violent gangster film

I had very high hopes for Live by Night, and wasn't completely thrilled with it. I liked it, but it wasn't everything I wanted it to be. The beginning feels very different from the end, and had less interesting characters. As the movie progresses, it gets better and better. I thought Ben Affleck's performance was inconsistent. Sometimes he was doing a great job, and sometimes he was not believable. He directed the action scenes very well, though. There is a lot of brutal violence, but there is little gore. There are a few mild sexual scenes, but there is one scene with pictures of a young naked woman. The distribution of rum is a large part of the plot. Language isn't frequent, but it is still fairly strong. It is better suited for more mature audiences, but depending on the person, some teens may be okay. I really didn't mind the movie, I just thought it could still be better.

Is It Any Good?

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

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 25, 2016
  • On DVD or streaming: March 21, 2017
  • Cast: Ben Affleck , Elle Fanning , Brendan Gleeson
  • Director: Ben Affleck
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: History
  • Run time: 128 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity
  • Last updated: January 1, 2023

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