A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirty gazes and some kissing. The movie begins with the camera gazing at a man's naked, chiseled torso and back. A sexual reference.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.