The Place Beyond the Pines



Melancholy, mature drama explores father-son themes.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: March 25, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is pretty bleak, but it does put forth the idea that what goes around comes around. And that sometimes, even the most troubled souls will want to do right -- they just might not know how.

Positive role models

Romina is a mother who's just trying to do right by her son, though it doesn't always work well for her. Luke is the same, though he goes about it in a damaging way. Avery is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and he tries mightily to do the right thing -- but at a high cost.


Violent scenes include characters drawing guns and shooting at one another. In one instance, a man puts a gun into another character's mouth. A man is shot and falls through a window, the camera lingering on his broken body, blood seeping underneath his head. A teen shoots another and points his gun at someone else. He also gets beaten to a bloody pulp. In many scenes, a menacing vibe lingers.


Flirty gazes and some kissing. The movie begins with the camera gazing at a man's naked, chiseled torso and back. A sexual reference.


Very frequent, strong language includes "f--k" (and the related "motherf--ker"), "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "d--k," "a--hole," "ass," "hell," "oh my God," and more, sometimes said by teens.


Logos for Honda and Chevrolet are prominently displayed; specific mention of the drug Oxycontin.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens are shown partying/drinking, popping pills (Oxycontin), and smoking pot at a party. Adults are also seen drinking and smoking cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Place Beyond the Pines is a powerful but bleak drama about what happens when a man discovers that he has fathered a child with a fling he can't forget and tries to make it right, thereby unleashing a series of wrongs. It's violent (for example, a character is shot dead, the camera lingering on his bloody, broken body; other scenes also involve guns, a beating, and more), fairly bleak, and quite difficult to watch at times. Expect very strong, frequent swearing ("s--t," "f--k," and more); drinking, pill-popping, and pot smoking among teens (plus adults drinking and smoking), and moments of heightened menace that will be too intense for younger viewers.

What's the story?

In 1990s upstate New York, motorcycle stunt rider Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) performs in a state fair, riding his bike in a steel globe with two other riders. He's rarely in these parts, traveling from one show to another. But a former hook-up, Romina (Eva Mendes), shows up after Luke's performance, and later he realizes that he fathered a baby boy with her. Though she's with someone else, Luke can't stay away, pledging to find a way to support her and their son, even if it means robbing banks. When one of his heists goes awry, Luke finds himself trapped in a house, with an idealistic rookie cop (Bradley Cooper) who has an infant of his own on the other side of a door. What happens next ties the two forever, a moment that has lasting consequences.

Is it any good?


From the moment we glimpse Gosling's chiseled abs as he prepares to perform what we expect to be some momentous feat on his motorcycle -- only to realize that he is but a circus act, literally jailed in a steel globe -- we know we're in for a gut-punch of a movie. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is gloomy and depressing. Its tale of misplaced fatherhood and wrongs-made-wronger will leave audiences with little hope and much cynicism. It's not an easy movie to watch. But it's powerful, and co-writer-director Derek Cianfrance has a knack for setting the mood (in this case, dreary and hopeless). And his scenes build up the tension so well that you're bound to feel uncomfortable.

Conceived as triptych bound by a tenacious paternal thread, each act/portion of the movie features a strong actor (Gosling is the strongest, if we had to pick, though Cooper is fantastic, too) at its center. But each of the segments could have been an entire movie on its own, and perhaps the filmmakers ought to have chosen. As it stands, The Place Beyond the Pines is overly long at 2 hours and 20 minutes; it's too much of a pretty-good thing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how teens are portrayed in The Place Beyond the Pines. Are the drug and weapon use realistic? What would the real-life consequences be?

  • What do you think of the movie's violence? Is all of it necessary for the story that it's trying to tell?

  • Why do you think Luke does what he does? Does it come from a place of good intentions? What about Avery and both Luke's and Avery's kids?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 29, 2013
DVD release date:August 6, 2013
Cast:Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling
Director:Derek Cianfrance
Studio:Focus Features
Run time:140 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference

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Learning ratings

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

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byShivom Oza April 10, 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013 The Place Beyond The Pines (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Beyond Brilliant!

Crime-thrillers often make for fascinating movies; more so, when the screenplay of the film is spruced with innocuous mind games and dichotomous characters. ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’, starring Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, is an intriguing three-part film which revolves around how decisions made by a stunt motorcyclist and a dutiful police officer, affect the lives of their families. It is directed by Derek Cianfrance of ‘Blue Valentine’ fame. Its wonderful story and screenplay, backed with awesome performances, make ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ one of the better crime-thrillers to have come out in recent times. The multi-layered characters (and by layered, I mean sometimes greedy and sometimes selfless, sometimes bound by duty and sometimes by fate, sometimes white and mostly black), performed by the cast with much aplomb, make the film very real and relatable. An absolutely brilliant story about relationships, revenge and forgiveness, ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ is ‘edge-of-the-seat’ stuff. Clocking in at 2 hours 20 minutes, the film doesn’t seem long at all. A stunt motorcyclist, Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling), is trying very hard to reconnect with his former girlfriend and the mother of his new-born child, Romina (Eva Mendes). In order to provide for her and his child Jason, Luke quits motorcycle racing and starts robbing banks. Being a rider, Luke lives life on the edge and is absolutely unapologetic about his actions. Police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) is looking for growth at his workplace, but is pulled back by the rampant corruption in the department. Two boys, studying in high school, Jason (Luke’s son) and AJ Cross (Avery’s son), fall into trouble with drugs, which leads to a lot of drama and some bloodshed. The film is about how the lives of the aforementioned characters entwine. The film tackles relationships very well. Be it Luke’s and Romina’s romantic liaison, Avery’s turbulent relationship with his wife and son, Jason’s equation with AJ Cross, and Avery’s fabulous camaraderie with his father, the highs and lows of any normal relationship have been encapsulated brilliantly by the writers. It even deals with the dichotomy that most of us often find ourselves in – ‘whose side to take?’. It’s true that if you stand for something right/wrong, you have to bear the consequences eventually. The characters are etched in such a meticulous manner, that you may find yourself sympathizing with the criminal at some points and cursing the righteous individual at others. On the technical front, the film excels purely on its writing (Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder). The score, composed by Mike Patton, is eerily delightful. In addition, the camerawork (Sean Bobbitt) wonderfully compliments the dark, gritty theme of the film. As a viewer, I connected with this film on several grounds – forgiveness, righteousness, ambition and compassion. The story is bound to strike a chord with you at some level or the other. The film, just like its title, is open to several interpretations. It stays with you for a long time after you’ve watched it. Shivom Oza
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byLcoreviews2 April 6, 2013

Great film

I loved this movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written by1457916 May 27, 2013

better for age 15 and up

A good opportunity to talk to kids about the moral compass and when and why it goes awry.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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