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Parents' Guide to

The East

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Possibly controversial messages in eco-terrorism thriller.

Movie PG-13 2013 116 minutes
The East Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (2 ):

If it weren't for the ludicrous ending, this film might be nearly outstanding. The incredible Marling, who wrote (or co-wrote) the screenplays for Another Earth and Sound of My Voice -- as well as producing and starring -- moves into a slightly bigger budget bracket with THE EAST, though the mood is still the same: thoughtful and emotionally risky. Like Sound of My Voice, the concept here is also the infiltration of a cult.

However, the plotting of The East has also advanced a bit more toward Hollywood. Most of the movie works like gangbusters, with Sarah's journey taking precedence over the anti-corporate messages. Her involvement with the cult and with Benji grows ever stranger and more precarious as the "jams" get more dangerous. Unfortunately, the filmmakers felt the need to tack on a fairly overcooked ending that feels both rushed and ridiculous. It knocks the entire movie down a few pegs, but there's still a lot here to admire -- and to think about.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 31, 2013
  • On DVD or streaming: September 17, 2013
  • Cast: Alexander Skarsgard , Brit Marling , Elliot Page
  • Director: Zal Batmanglij
  • Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African directors, Female actors, Non-Binary actors, Queer actors
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic elements, violence, some disturbing images, sexual content and partial nudity
  • Last updated: November 17, 2022

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