Parents' Guide to

Mystic River

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Powerful performances in graphic story. Only 16+.

Movie R 2003 137 minutes
Mystic River Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 16+

age 18+

Bad ending

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (7 ):

Mystic River has big, serious star power and big, serious themes; there are moments of power and flickers of meaning, but it is ultimately hollow and unsatisfying. A lifetime of history in the same place has all of the characters overlapping, intersecting, and echoing each other's lives. Jimmy and Sean are boyhood friends who ended up on opposite sides. Each struggles in his own way with survivor guilt over not being the one who got in the molester's car and with issues of justice. Each struggles to find meaning after a random, devastating incident. Dave struggles with his sense of himself as the boy who escaped "from the wolves" but who never really escaped.

Director and jazz fan Clint Eastwood plays his big, showy cast like a jazz ensemble. Rossem's brief appearance makes her character's death a wrenching loss. Robbins, Harden, Robbins, Laura Linney, and Penn are each given a moment to step forward and pull out all the stops. The cast delivers in the big moments, but at other times performances feel condescending, as though the actors have to work hard to play characters who are not as smart as they are. At the end it is all about the show, not the substance, and these themes and these stories deserve better.

Movie Details

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