A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Violence and tense scenes, dead body, murders. Tense scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references, including child molestation (offscreen).
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Very strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A lot of drinking and smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has graphic violence, including murders. While some of the violence and the child molestation occur off-screen, the depictions are still deeply disturbing. Characters drink and smoke a great deal and use very strong language. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate