Never Grow Old

Movie review by
Rich Phippen, Common Sense Media
Never Grow Old Movie Poster Image
Violent Western has few positive messages and some language.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Murder, greed, gambling, and prostitution are prominent themes. Some courage and a willingness to do the right thing is shown by a few.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The leading members of the small community are all deeply flawed with many profiting from the misery of others. Patrick is a good man from a good family, who wants to -- and eventually does -- do the right thing. Audrey is consistent in her positive moral position. Preacher Pike shows courage in standing up to the criminals. In one scene, the Irish are compared to "rats." Some reference to the divide between Christians and Catholics.


Multiple characters are shot dead -- often graphically. One is shown with his stomach ripped open. A young character is hanged. A building full of people is set on fire but it's unclear if anyone dies. A character tries to force themselves on another but is stabbed. A character carries their severed tongue with them. A horse is euthanized. One of the main characters works as an undertaker. 


One of the settings of the movie is a brothel. Subsequently many of the characters are prostitutes who offer themselves for money -- but there are no sex scenes or nudity.


Intermittent language, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "goddamn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol frequently -- mainly whiskey -- particularly in the town saloon. Drinking is criticized by the town preacher. One character is seen smoking snuff tobacco and appears to get a high from it. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Never Grow Old is a violent tale set in the Old West starring Emile Hirsch and John Cusack. It's a slow, methodical film that features regular bouts of gun violence, depicting blood and gore as well as dead bodies. A young woman is hanged in front of the town without fair trial. Bad language is intermittent, with occasional uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Sex isn’t directly depicted, but one character and her daughter take up employment at the local brothel. Alcohol is initially banned from the town until the villains re-open the saloon, where characters drink whiskey and one smokes snuff. One relatively upstanding character becomes frustrated at the increasing debauchery of the town and sets fire to a building full of people. The majority of characters are immoral and loathsome and there are few positive messages.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySamson1212 March 1, 2021

A Great Western

I really enjoyed this western. It is a very depressing movie but it sends a message. I really liked the character of Dumb Dumb It has a lot to say about faith a... Continue reading

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What's the story?

NEVER GROW OLD is set in a small, peaceful frontier town, where Patrick Tate (Emile Hirsch) is trying to support his wife, Audrey (Deborah Francois) and two young children. They are short on money and prospects, until violent outlaw, Dutch Albert (John Cusack) and his two henchmen arrive. With Dutch shooting any man who crosses him, Patrick starts to make good money as the town's undertaker. But he must weigh up whether the death and destruction, not to mention threats to his family, are worth the money he's bringing in. 

Is it any good?

While this doesn't offer anything particularly new to the Western genre, director Ivan Kavanagh does an excellent job of depicting frontier life. Far from romantic, Kavanagh shows the hardship suffered by the early settlers in 1840s America. The cast are all very convincing, particularly Cusack, whose villain is remarkably intimidating. Never Grow Old isn't quite as clever as perhaps it thinks it is, with only one theme being hammered home for the entire duration -- should Patrick continue to profit from the death of others at the hands of an outlaw? The answer being pretty obvious very early on, and Patrick taking an age to do anything about it makes him increasingly unsympathetic. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Never Grow Old. Is it gratuitous or justified for the purposes of the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids? 

  • Patrick is making money perfectly legally, but is he morally justified? What should he ideally do about the situation? 

  • How does the movie depict women? Are they represented accurately for the time period in which the movie is set? How do you think the role of women has changed today?

  • What is the appeal of the Western genre? Does the movie reflect our current times? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love westerns

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