Prince Avalanche

  • Review Date: August 8, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Quiet character drama has some drinking, sex talk.
  • Review Date: August 8, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 94 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Spending time alone to "find yourself" sometimes means that your worst habits become more ingrained. Alvin tries to better himself by communing solo in the woods, but he doesn't start to grow until he starts to see himself through the eyes of his coworker, Lance.

Positive role models

Alvin and Lance are very normal guys, trying to be decent yet also quite irritating. They're forced to spend a lot of time alone together, and while they clearly aren't good friends, they do bond in a way that feels very realistic.


Two men get into a contentious argument that leads to pushing and shoving.


Men discuss sex, lust, and desire; some crude/crass references to women. One scene suggests that a man is masturbating in bed under the sheets.


Language includes "t-ts," "p---y," "screwed," and "goddamn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few scenes show people smoking cigarettes and cigars, as well as drinking beer and some harder liquor. Two grown men get pretty wasted and spend an afternoon alone in the woods acting quite silly. One guy talks about having a stash of prescription medication.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Prince Avalanche is an introspective look at two very real characters spending a summer alone together repairing a remote road that was damaged in a forest fire. Alvin (Paul Rudd) is arrogant and irritating, and he clearly feels superior to his partner, Lance (Emile Hirsh), whose main goal is meeting girls during his weekends in town. Expect some crude and crass talk about women and sex, a scene of implied masturbation (under sheets), some swearing ("p---y" is the worst of it), a few scenes with smoking, and one long sequence in which the main characters spend an afternoon getting sloppy drunk.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsh) form a two-man work crew, spending the summer alone in the woods repairing a road damaged by forest fire. For Alvin, it's a chance to commune with nature and better himself through solitary meditation. For Lance, who's also the brother of Alvin's girlfriend, it's just a job, and he lives for the weekends, when he can go to town and try to meet girls. It's a classic odd-couple setup, and both men are portrayed as realistic characters ... who happen to be totally insufferable. Alvin is an irritating know-it-all, unaware that he rubs just about everyone the wrong way. And Lance is kind of dim, not very sophisticated, and not very considerate. They don't become friends, exactly, but they do manage to grow when they're finally able to see themselves through each other's eyes.

Is it any good?


PRINCE AVALANCHE is a quiet film. Not a lot happens, and not a lot needs to happen. Alvin and Lance paint one yellow line after another on a road that seems to go on forever. They bicker, they seethe, they don't really make up. The next day they do it again. Yet they also start to grow on each other.

The audience also starts to see actual characters emerge, and the actors do a fine job of making Alvin and Lance into full-fledged human beings rather than caricatures. We don't necessarily come to like them, but, perhaps more importantly, we understand who they are. That understanding engenders sympathy for them and is what give the film its heart. The film may not be the most thrilling, but its authenticity hits the spot.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Prince Avalanche says about friendship. Do you think Alvin and Lance are friends? How will they react to each other when the job is done and they go their separate ways?

  • How does the movie portray both sex and drinking?

  • What do you think about Alvin's relationship with his girlfriend? What are the main issues in their relationship?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 9, 2013
DVD release date:November 12, 2013
Cast:Emile Hirsch, Paul Rudd
Director:David Gordon Green
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some sexual content

This review of Prince Avalanche was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass