Parents' Guide to

Ride the Eagle

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

So-so dramedy about loss has sexual content, swearing.

Movie NR 2021 85 minutes
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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.

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