Parents' Guide to

The World Made Straight

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mature coming-of-age adaptation has violence, drugs.

Movie R 2015 119 minutes
The World Made Straight Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Kids say (1):

This story could have made a great film, with its Cold Mountain-meets-Winter's Bone overtones, but the subplots, flashbacks, and historical themes don't translate smoothly to the screen. The connection to the Shelton Laurel Massacre (the horrible and unsanctioned killing of 13 neighboring Unionists by vengeful Confederates) is interesting, but the movie never really fleshes out why Travis becomes so obsessed with the atrocity. And Travis' relationship with Lori (Adelaide Clemens), a candy striper he meets while he's hospitalized, isn't substantively developed, so it seems more like a crush than love.

On the bright side, the performances are all great, particularly Irvine's -- who, despite being English, manages a Southern accent better than American-born Wyle. But since Leonard was a teacher, it's easy to believe that he'd have shed some of his Appalachian twang. And Wyle skillfully plays a man whose life as a teacher-father-husband was ruined but who finds new purpose in mentoring young Travis to learn about the past and connect to the future. Earle, foremost a musician, is quite memorable as the creepy, bearded local drug lord. There are enough compelling plot points to keep audiences interested, but the movie as a whole isn't particularly memorable.

Movie Details

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