Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

The Dark Divide

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Touching wilderness story has too many distractions.

Movie NR 2020 107 minutes
The Dark Divide Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Wonderful outdoor adventure with positive messages

My son is 12 and loves the outdoors. He and I really enjoyed the film even though it deals with some adult issues and has a couple of bare bottoms. It reminded me of Never Cry Wolf from when I was a kid. A great escape into the outdoors for both of us during the pandemic and a nice way for us to talk about the importance of nature and standing up for what you believe in. I think it had one swear word(?) and some cartoonish violence, otherwise good.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

A good-looking wilderness trek that's likable enough for a few stretches, this biopic is, unfortunately, frequently stretched too thin, and Pyle's inexperience is often frustrating. Written and directed by Tom Putnam (of the unfortunate The Hottie and the Nottie) and based on Pyle's own book, The Dark Divide does a good job of balancing Thea's death and getting Pyle into the woods, but once he's there, it flounders. Pyle's amateur mistakes are played with a blurry sense of both slapstick humor and pathos, and it's difficult to know what to feel other than exasperation. When Pyle's pack tilts over and tumbles down a hill, your response may well be "how could you let that happen?"

Pyle's journey is also marked with several little montages (showing, for example, how he improves in crossing rivers and creeks), flashbacks, and far too many pop songs. Moreover, the movie is peppered with the expected encounters with several offbeat supporting characters (played by David Koechner, Gary Farmer, Kimberly Guerrero, Cameron Esposito, and others), but many of these scenes don't really connect. The Dark Divide works best when Cross is alone, making little discoveries and deepening his sense of self. (Cross is usually known for his acerbic screen persona, but here, he's quite touching.) It's too bad the movie as a whole couldn't have tapped further into these small moments of beauty.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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

See how we rate