Ride the Eagle

Movie review by
Monique Jones, Common Sense Media
Ride the Eagle Movie Poster Image
So-so dramedy about loss has sexual content, swearing.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 85 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Spending time with those you love is most important in life. Finding empathy for family and friends can help you maintain relationships and mend broken ones. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Leif learns to embrace his emotions surrounding his mother and develops empathy for her despite their broken relationship. Leif is able to forgive his mother for abandoning him after hearing her feelings of regret and sadness. Cast is primarily White, with Black and Latino actors in supporting roles and primarily functioning as foils for the main character's humor. Leif's ex, Audrey, is mainly defined through her relationship to him, but she also feels like an independent female character.


Mention of a gun and a mention of killed rabbits. Character brandishes a knife; breaking and entering. 


A comedic attempt at phone sex and descriptions of sexual acts, including a character saying "the taste of your vagina in the morning." Comedic depictions of nudity and sex, shown in an intentionally bad painting featuring nudists and animals in heat. 


Swearing includes "f--k," "f--ked," "s--tty" "ass," "sugar d--k," "candy ass," "goddamn," "f--kboy," "young ass," "f--king," "dips--t," "p---ywhipped," "s--t," "motherf----rs." Potentially ableist terms like "dumb" and "kook." Exclamatory use of "God."


A character wears a Michael Kors bag. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking pot, drinking wine. Honey's house has jars and bags of pot in the cabinets. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ride the Eagle is a dramedy about a man (Jake Johnson) who reconnects with his mother (Susan Sarandon) after her death thanks to a scavenger hunt she left for him to complete. Mature content includes drug use (pot), drinking, and swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "d--k," and more). There's also sexual content played for humor -- including a comedic attempt at phone sex and descriptions of nudity and sexual acts, plus depictions of nudity and sex. A gun and killed rabbits are mentioned; one character brandishes a knife. Amid all this, however, is a message about the importance of empathy.

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What's the story?

In RIDE THE EAGLE, Leif (Jake Johnson) learns that his estranged mother, Honey (Susan Sarandon), has died and left him her house -- with the contingency that he first finish a list of tasks to help him come to terms with their relationship. The to-do list brings Leif back in contact with Audrey (D'Arcy Carden), the "one who got away," as well as Carl (J.K. Simmons), Honey's former lover. Ultimately, the journey brings Leif closer to his mother and to others he's loved. 

Is it any good?

Co-written by Johnson and director Trent O'Donnell, Ride the Eagle is a comedic look at grief through the eyes of a man who grew up without his mother. Honey's will -- a scavenger hunt she created to get closer to Leif from beyond the grave -- takes Leif on a journey to realize that time is short and must be spent with those you love. The film does a good job of expanding on this truth, but a lot of the emotional depth feels slightly truncated because of a lack of focus on Leif and Honey's relationship before her death. 

While it's possible for a film to successfully tackle mending a strained relationship, Ride the Eagle doesn't hone in enough on Honey and Leif's past for the audience to really connect with Leif's struggle to forgive her. That disconnected feeling leaves more room for comedic situations, but even those situations end up keeping Leif further from his goal of forgiving Honey. For instance, when Leif is finally acknowledging his regret at not spending enough time with Honey while on a hike -- a requirement of Honey's scavenger hunt -- another hiker shows up out of nowhere for comedic relief, ending the heartfelt moment. Leif does eventually have a truly cathartic moment with the memory of his mother. But perhaps more of his catharsis should have been sprinkled throughout the film. As it stands, though, Ride the Eagle stays buoyant thanks to fun performances by Johnson, Sarandon, Simmons, and Carden, and in the end it promotes empathy and forgiveness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family relationships. What role did empathy play in Leif's forgiveness?

  • How does the movie depict emotional growth? Is it relatable/realistic?

  • How are sex and substance use portrayed in the movie? Does presenting mature content in a comic context affect its impact?

Movie details

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For kids who love comedy and drama

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