Parents' Guide to

The Burning Plain

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Poignant story of infidelity, loss, remorse; not for kids.

Movie R 2009 107 minutes
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The Burning Plain is made with great care and integrity and showcases fine, earnest efforts from a talented cast. (J.D. Pardo is particularly memorable as the adulterous father's teen son.) But its languid pace and the basic grimness of the characters' lives make it heavy going some of the time.

The movie is the first directorial effort by Guillermo Arriaga, who wrote Babel, 21 Grams, and Amores Perros. This movie, like those earlier films, tells its story in a nonlinear manner, moving backward and forward through the years and from place to place while focusing on a variety of characters. At first these shifts may seem random, often confusing. As the film's multiple characters and story lines converge, it's the audience's job, along with the filmmaker's, to put the pieces of the puzzle together and come to a satisfying conclusion.

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