A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: March 15, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 23, 2019
- Cast: Emile Hirsch, John Cusack, Deborah Francois
- Director: Ivan Kavanagh
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Western
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language, some sexual content and brief drug use
- Last updated: March 12, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love westerns
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch