Parents' Guide to

The Roads Not Taken

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Drama about dementia imperfect but makes emotional impact.

Movie R 2020 85 minutes
The Roads Not Taken Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This soapy drama has its share of problems, but director Sally Potter's quiet, drifting tone and a batch of excellent performances allow for certain potent moments of thought and emotion. The Roads Not Taken suffers a little from its droopy tone and the solemn way it handles the dementia-related scenes. Additionally, it can't quite find an equal balance between its three storylines. The Mexico story in particular seems to go on for quite a while as Leo walks around aimlessly, avoiding the festival that he will eventually, finally attend, although Potter nearly saves the day with a lovely shot of Bardem resting in a truck bed full of corn.

On the upside, Potter has always had a good touch for soap opera, heading straight for gushing, truthful emotions, no matter how bumpy the route. Bardem does most of the heavy lifting in a performance that recalls his other illness-related roles in The Sea Inside and Biutiful. But he also gets to stretch out in the Mexico and Greece sequences. Fanning has a trickier role, staying realistic while also holding on to hope that her father will suddenly become well. Laura Linney turns up in a small role as Molly's mother/Leo's ex-wife, giving a sharp dose of matter-of-factness that feels just right. With this in mind, viewers' appreciation of The Roads Not Taken will likely depend on whether plot can be overlooked in favor of feeling.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate