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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Maintaining compassion and integrity during life's bumps in the road can be hard to do, but it says a lot about a person's character.
Positive Role Models
Cole has a dream to run a farm, but he must endure an adulthood that's decided for him. Still, he maintains his compassion for his friend, who ends up marrying his former girlfriend, and his father, who's tough on him because of his own deferred dreams. Cole maintains his integrity by keeping his heart open to his dream of owning and running a successful farm.
Two people of color in main cast: Black actor Jennifer Holliday plays Florrie, who mostly acts as observer of Cole's life; her clichéd main function is to advise Cole on how to live his life. Thai American Alisa Allapach plays Ben's wife, Sarah, a semi-supportive partner. While parts of Sarah's personality are antagonistic, she's more complex than other female characters in the cast. Elle is defined by the men in her life, going from Ben, her high school sweetheart, to marrying his best friend, Jack. We never see how she's defined as an individual, nor does her character seem interested in defining herself outside of her relationships. A Latino supporting character has a small speaking part.
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Violence & Scariness
Scene with fighting. A character threatens violence. A character dies by suicide off-screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Language includes "s--t," "ass," "f--k you," "bumf--k," "hell," "bulls--t," "bastards." Exclamatory use of "oh my God," "Jesus Christ," "for Christ's sake." Words that could be seen as potentially ableist ("stupid," "crazy").
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Products & Purchases
Scene with a Massey Ferguson tractor.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Road to Galena is a drama about a man who wants to fulfill his life's dream of owning a farm but is forced to follow his dad's hopes and become a lawyer. Expect strong language (including "s--t," "f--k," "oh my God," and more), a character dying by suicide (off-screen), and some drinking and fighting. The film isn't notably diverse, and female characterizations are limited, lacking complexity and individuality, but characters do demonstrate compassion and integrity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This drama has a good story at its core, but it gets to the point too late. It has a nearly two-hour runtime, and, within those two hours, plot points go by very slowly. Perhaps if it had been a TV series like Parenthood or This Is Us, the pacing would make more sense, since the moments in Cole's life are set up similar to TV episodic beats.
The Road to Galena might also have been more enjoyable had it been more tightly written. That said, the film does have a positive message about following your heart, regardless of what friends and family who don't understand your vision might have to say. It just would have been nicer if the story was told in an hour and 30 minutes or less, instead of nearly two hours.
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.