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Parents' Guide to

The Place Beyond the Pines

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Melancholy, mature drama explores father-son themes.

Movie R 2013 140 minutes
The Place Beyond the Pines Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 10+
age 15+

An epic zoomed in on family legacy

I really enjoyed what this movie's intentions were: that a simple action, a mistake, can knock down the dominoes that may lead to the next generation carrying on your mistakes. Gosling is fine in his role, though there's too many similarities to his brooding, bad boy role in "Drive" to call this a great performance. Bradley Cooper though, he does some heavy lifting here, along with Dane DeHaan, whose piercing eyes communicate much without him having to say a thing! Overall, though it is lengthy, I never found myself bored, because it certainly movies at a solid pace. Language was constant, along with Gosling's character smoking often and some partying scenes near the end of the film. Good rental, and overlooked in awards season!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (8 ):

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is gloomy and depressing. 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. 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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 29, 2013
  • On DVD or streaming: August 6, 2013
  • Cast: Bradley Cooper , Eva Mendes , Ryan Gosling
  • Director: Derek Cianfrance
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Latino actors
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 140 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference
  • Last updated: August 23, 2023

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