The Last Treasure Hunt

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Last Treasure Hunt Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful indie brother-sister drama has lots of profanity.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 99 minutes

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promotes forgiveness, open communication, compassion, and acceptance. Even deep-seated estrangements can be healed. Values and encourages a challenging sibling relationship despite a difficult history.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Imperfect characters maturing and adjusting to life's changes and demands are the role models here. Their journeys are neither smooth nor consistent; in that way, they seem to reflect real young people coming of age in their twenties. Their recently deceased single father is unseen but very much still a presence in their lives; appears to have been brave, caring, and an original thinker. No ethnic diversity.

Violence

A book is thrown, resulting in a bloody nose.

Sex

Couple embraces, kisses. After an implied sexual encounter, they are shown undressed (no breasts or genitals visible) with clothes lying about.

Language

Frequent profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "anal," "pissy," "Christ," "bitchy," "a--hole." Some insults and name-calling (i.e., "stupid").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink wine in multiple social settings. They decide to get drunk and are shown in a bar with empty beer bottles in front of them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Treasure Hunt, a character-driven drama created in a naturalistic style, explores the fragile relationship of two young adults who've returned to their childhood home following their single father's unexpected death. Deliberately paced (some might call it "slow"), the film relies on mature writing, strong performances, and contemporary music to tell its story. Profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "Christ," "goddamn," "a--hole," and more) is frequent; there are insults ("bitchy," "stupid") and bursts of angry put-downs, as well. Characters drink alcoholic beverages in multiple scenes; in one, they decide to "get drunk." A sexual relationship is implied; the characters appear modestly naked after one romantic encounter (no overt nudity). Best for teens who are fans of very real stories about present-day family relationships that don't come with easy answers.

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What's the story?

Their father's unexpected death brings Lucy Sinclair (Kate Murdoch) and her brother Oliver (Casey Nelson) back to their scenic island home in THE LAST TREASURE HUNT. Oliver leaves his pregnant girlfriend and his failing bookstore behind; Lucy, a five-year college undergraduate, carries with her a determination not to grow up. Estranged and hanging onto anger and mistrust, the two are distressed when they learn that in order to settle their father's estate, which includes their childhood home, they must follow clues for one final treasure hunt -- a yearly event that their eccentric single father created for them when they were kids. Their efforts to solve Robert Sinclair's last challenge, alongside encounters with intriguing island residents, keep Lucy and Oliver in a volatile, emotional space. There are neither easy resolutions for this relationship nor for the nearly impenetrable puzzle their dad has left for them.

Is it any good?

Solid lead performances, insightful "off-the-nose" writing and direction, and an original story with heft make this low-budget indie movie well worth the time. Casey Nelson and Kate Murdoch, the two leads, wrote the script, too -- and it shows. They inhabit the two characters, giving them unusual depth. What's more, they simply aren't afraid to be flawed or unlikable at moments. The supporting actors do fine work, as well. The Last Treasure Hunt is an engaging story, postmodern in both structure and style. Occasionally the music is unnecessarily "on the nose," even intrusive, but it's a small quibble, unlikely to mar the many good moments on-screen. Recommended for teens and young adults who like and admire in-depth character studies and are OK with not having their movies wrapped up in a bright and shiny bow.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the profanity in The Last Treasure Hunt. In what ways did the use of language help characterize both Lucy and Oliver, as well as their relationship? Do you think the frequent swearing made the film feel real?

  • How did you feel about the ending of this movie? Was there enough resolution to satisfy you? Why, or why not? What do you think the filmmakers wanted you to take away from this experience?

  • Often places or settings become specific "characters" in a film. How did the island and the Sinclair family home affect this story? Could it have taken place anywhere else? Why, or why not?

  • How do the characters in The Last Treasure Hunt demonstrate communication and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love family dramas

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