Youth in Oregon

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Youth in Oregon Movie Poster Image
Complex dramedy explores issues related to assisted suicide.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You can choose to do everything on your own terms, but it might create conflict and tension with the people you love. Themes include empathy and compassion, and the film also grapples with the topic of assisted suicide.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ray is gruff but eventually comes to understand that his cold exterior causes pain to the people around him. Even at 80, he learns it's not too late to show more warmth and understanding.

Violence

Several scenes feature intense family arguments, including yelling, pushing, a woman slapping her brother's face, and a husband who grabs his wife's arm and tries to drag her out of a party.

Sex

A man bitterly discusses his inability to have sex, with some graphic talk about his better days in the past. A teen girl lifts up her shirt to take a picture of her chest. Viewers don't see anything, but later she and her boyfriend get in big trouble when the photos are distributed around school. Two brief moments show teens and college students kissing.

Language

Fairly frequent swearing, including "s--t," "bitch," "hell" and "f--k."

Consumerism

The characters use a Jeep for their road trip.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character has a drinking problem and gets wasted in several scenes. She also likes to pop pills, apparently anything she can get her hands on. A few scenes show people smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Youth in Oregon focuses on an elderly man (Frank Langella) with a failing heart who sets off on a cross-country drive to pursue assisted suicide. It's a complex topic that's handled well; the film carefully explores multiple sides of the question of free will and the impact that people have on those around them. Expect some drinking (sometimes to excess), some pill popping and smoking, and frequent swearing (including "s--t," "f--k," and more). Teen characters kiss, and a girl flashes her chest for a photo; there's also a bit of racy sex talk and some intense family arguments. But it's really the mature themes that make this best for older teens and and adults.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWholesome Reviews October 28, 2017

Confusing drama that will give you feels

Youth in Oregon is a great movie if you are awake at 3 a.m. on a friday night on the verge of severe exhaustion, which coincidentally enough, is exactly the cas... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In YOUTH IN OREGON, Ray (Frank Langella) is turning 80, and his heart isn't going to last anymore. Rather than endure a difficult operation, he tells his family that he's going to Oregon to pursue assisted suicide. Son-in-law Brian (Billy Crudup) ends up with the unenviable job of driving Ray across the country, making a few stops along the way to see other family members and hopefully resolve some nagging family grievances. (Christina Applegate, Josh Lucas, and Mary Kay Place co-star.)

 

Is it any good?

Get past the Little Miss Sunshine knock-off poster art and the similar road trip-brings-a-family-together storyline, and there's much to appreciate about this dramedy. A frank exploration of how an aging man stares mortality in the eye and tries to achieve some semblance of control (a losing battle for everyone), this family drama is surprisingly genuine in both characterization and feeling.

There are no tidy answers in Youth in Oregon, nor major epiphanies. What's left is relatable and appealing (aside from a third-act plot digression that, although it works, feels somewhat forced). It's imperfect, but it's worth a watch, especially to see Langella show everyone else how acting with quiet power and enormous presence is done. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Youth in Oregon tackles the subject of death. What position does it take on assisted suicide? Did it make you think differently about the topic?

  • How does the film portray drinking (and other substance use)? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Why do you think Ray doesn't share his decision with other people, especially his wife and daughter? What would you have done in his place?

Movie details

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