Parents' Guide to

On the Road

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Copious sex and drugs in boring adaptation of great book.

Movie R 2012 124 minutes
On the Road Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Don't bother...

On the Road was a big disappointment even though it had a great cast, it seemed like it tried too hard and most of it was very boring, it was too long. I keep hearing the book is much better if you like to read. Kristen Stewart wasn't anything special, in fact she looked uncomfortable throughout the whole film and her acting was bland as usual (her best performance by far was in The Runaways). All characters were unlikable, seemed selfish and no good messages at all here. I will not watch this again or recommend it to anyone. Language is strong with lots of f-words and everything else. Violence isn't bad but some arguing throughout, someone's always picking a fight, characters steal. Sexual content is extremely strong and way too much to even begin to list, there is also nudity, tons of sex and sexual situations including gay, many threesomes...etc. Very frequent drinking throughout, drugs and smoking. Definitely not suitable for anyone under 18!!!!

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 16+

On The Road (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Directionless

2/5 Stars Aspiring writer Sal Paradise gets affected deeply upon the arrival of his 'liberated' friend Dean Moriarty and his young wife Marylou. The trio takes a road trip across the country and meets several people who impact their journey and their lives. At the conceptual level, the film works. However, to be attentive enough for close to 150 minutes is something else. The film, albeit embellished with marvellous visuals and brilliant acting, fails to engage the audience. The plot isn't gripping enough to hold the audiences for so long. The film was screened at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival under the 'World Cinema' category. Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) is one shy fella from New York. The aspiring writer meets the laidback vagabond Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). Both of them hit it off instantly. Dean is an alcoholic, speed demon, drug-addict, sex-addict, maverick and plain demented. He likes to live the 'high' life and believes in trying out just about everything, even threesomes, including another man. He can do just about anything for money. He marries a girl because he needed money for car fuel. He, assumedly 'straight' until then, has sex with another man, once again for favours in exchange. Greedy and selfish he certainly is, but then he is egoistic too. This is why his friendships/relationships/marriages are always on the brink of collapsing! His young wife Marylou (Kristen Stewart) (not to be confused with the car fuel one), an extremely sexually-liberated woman, along with him and Sal, set off on a road trip! Their journey is barraged with mysterious occurrences. While discovering the outside world, the three learn a lot about themselves and each other. Sal, who is too busy to finish his book, learns a thing or two about friendship and trust. Marylou learns what it feels like to get hurt and Dean doesn't learn anything, until it gets too late. Kristen Stewart is absolutely mind-blowing in the film. Although the film was found lacking at some parts, her performance shines all the way through. Sam plays the understated Sal perfectly while Garrett owns the part of Dean Moriarty. However, the writing was found a bit wanting. The film drags on and on, without any real purpose. Although their lives are affected owing to the journey, there is too much of jumping around between one place to another and the repercussions of the journey on them are not really clear. Even the setting, showing the America of the 1940s and the 1950s, could have been a lot better. Cinematography is just about decent. Direction by Walter Salles leaves a lot to be desired. Had this film been edited a bit differently, it would have been something else (for the good, of course!). Although the subject is interesting, you may avoid this one. Shivom Oza

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

It's hard to imagine how such an exciting book became such a boring movie, especially since producer Francis Ford Coppola has been trying to make it since 1979. To start, Walter Salles may have been a very bad choice as director. His only previous outing dealing with rebellious youth on the road was the polite, picture-postcard The Motorcycle Diaries, which reduced the volatile Che Guevara to a button-cute romantic lead.

This time, Salles piles on the sex and drugs -- in addition to a grungy, handheld visual style -- perhaps in the vain hope that his movie will seem edgy, but at its core, ON THE ROAD is lifeless and passive. The main character's few active moments are cut short, and it becomes clear that he's simply observing everything as it passes by. The observed characters never spring to life; we never see their point of view. The only burst of life in the movie is Mortensen's frighteningly good bit part as "Old Bull Lee" (a.k.a. William S. Burroughs).

Movie Details

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