The Company You Keep



Stellar cast is best thing about Redford's political drama.
  • Review Date: April 7, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 121 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's not always easy to make the moral choice, especially when it might have serious consequences. Jim, as a fugitive on the run for a crime that was committed decades ago, meets several of his old co-conspirators, and some are quite reluctant to help him if doing so threatens the comfortable lives they've created for themselves.

Positive role models

Jim is wanted by the FBI for a decades-old crime; he goes on the run to find some of the original participants, who are forced to make tough choices between what's right and what's easy. Some are more willing than others to do the right thing. And a young reporter who's digging into the story must make some equally tough choices when he unearths long-buried secrets.


A character is chased through the woods by federal agents. Several scenes include old, grainy news footage of a bank robbery that left a security guard dead.


Characters flirt and sometimes discuss their past romantic entanglements.


Strong language includes multiple uses of both "f--k" and "s--t," plus "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and more.


Labels/brands seen include GMC, Volvo, Twitter, Google, and Toyota.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character smuggles large bales of marijuana in a sailboat. Other people drink beer at a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Company You Keep stars Robert Redford, who also directed, as a once-radical fugitive who's wanted for a 1960s bank robbery that left a guard dead -- but who long ago went underground, changed his name, and left everything behind. Once the long-cold case again becomes national news, everything changes. Expect a fair bit of strong language (mostly "f--k" and "s--t"), plus plenty of fiery talk about revolutionary ideals, as well as a few scenes that feature people drinking beer. And one aging hippie now gets by smuggling large quantities of marijuana. The all-star supporting cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, and Julie Christie.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Jim Grant (Robert Redford, who also directed) is a single dad and public interest lawyer in upstate New York. He's also wanted for a bank robbery decades earlier that left a guard dead, back when he was a 1960s radical and a member of the Weather Underground. After the heist, Jim (who wasn't Jim then) and the rest of the gang went underground, changed their identities, and stayed hidden for years. But when one of them (Susan Sarandon) is finally captured, Jim's cover is blown, and he must find his old friends before the FBI catches up with him. Shia LaBeouf co-stars as an aggressive reporter hot on Jim's heels, trying to figure out what really happened at the bank so many years ago. The film boasts an all-star cast of supporting characters as aging radicals, including Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, and Sam Elliott.

Is it any good?


You won't be bored watching THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, which benefits from Redford's taut pacing and, well, his company. He may be one of the best understated actors in the business, and he has stuffed this drama with an ensemble of fine and finer thespians with a cupboard-full of award nominations and wins among them.

But by the time you reach the end of the film (which was based on Neil Gordon's novel), you may wonder why it bothered to entice you in the first place. The climax/ending is so unsatisfying, so thin, that it all seems like much ado over not very much at all. The movie's call for action -- for today's generation to examine its apathy or avarice -- is admirable, but if all our activism ends in a whimper, like this film does, what's the point? Watch it for the privilege of watching great actors do what they do best. That is all.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why they think some of the fugitives in the film are willing to give up their comfortable lives and turn themselves in. Why did Jim choose to go underground?

  • How well does this film explain the radical politics of the 1960s and 1970s? How could you find out more if you wanted to?

  • Do you think you could ever leave your entire life, change your name, and stay hidden for decades?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 5, 2013
DVD release date:August 13, 2013
Cast:Brit Marling, Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon
Director:Robert Redford
Studio:Sony Pictures Classics
Run time:121 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bykenwi January 9, 2014

Good, but for older teens

Sometimes, language is strong. Sometimes, drinking, drug, and smoking are some intense, briefly.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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