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"THE ROAD"
(2009) (Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Heavy None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Extreme Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: A father tries to provide safety, shelter and food for his son while teaching him how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where none of those are guaranteed.
PLOT:
Once upon a time, The Man (VIGGO MORTENSEN) and The Wife (CHARLIZE THERON) had a good life. But then the apocalypse came about and they found themselves raising their young son, The Boy (KODI SMIT-McPHEE), in a decidedly different world where civilization had broken down and marauding gangs roved the lands, raping, killing and/or eating whoever they might find.

With The Wife now a fading memory and seen in just flashbacks, The Man sets out with his son on a journey toward the coast where he believes life might be better. Along the way, he tries to provide safety, shelter and food for both of them, while also teaching his son how to survive in that hostile world once he eventually ends up alone in it.

Along the way, they must contend with encounters with various bad people, as well as the likes of The Old Man (ROBERT DUVALL) and The Veteran (GUY PEARCE) who provide glimpses that not all hope might be lost for good.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of anyone in the cast or Cormac McCarthy's source novel, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some violence, disturbing images and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VIGGO MORTENSEN plays a father who's trying to protect, provide for and instruct his young son about how to survive in the post-apocalyptic world in which they now live. He must not only contend with that, but also memories of his wife (the boy's mother) as the two of them set off on a journey toward the coast.
  • KODI SMIT-McPHEE plays his son who only knows the hardship of that world and not the way it was before the apocalypse. He occasionally experiences lighter moments, but for the most part is miserable, hungry and scared.
  • CHARLIZE THERON plays his mother, seen in flashbacks where she's eventually had enough and can no longer stay put (which she believes will result in her being raped, killed and then eaten).
  • ROBERT DUVALL plays an old man who The Man and his son encounter on the road.
  • GUY PEARCE plays a younger man who helps The Boy late in the film.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 5 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Men's bare butts are seen several times (in nonsexual situations) as is group hostage nudity (nothing explicit), while a flashback shows a man running his hand up his wife's inner thigh at a performance of some sort.

    Violence consists of several people being killed (with other murders or just attacks heard off-screen), while a man is injured. Some of that has bloody results, while dead bodies and body parts are seen several times. Those scenes, moments of potential peril and the overall post-apocalyptic setting might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers. Bad attitudes are present, as is tense family material and thematic elements. Some potentially imitative behavior is present (including that related to instructions on how to commit suicide).

    There's brief drinking and possible brief drug use (what looks like a joint, although it could also be a cigarette). If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from fire flicker in several scenes.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A miscellaneous man asks others who wants a drink, and we then see them with some, but we don't know if that's alcoholic or not.
  • The Man has some whiskey (with The Boy wanting to try that, but The Man not allowing him), followed by The Man smoking what appears to be a joint (although it might just be a cigarette).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see various partial human skeletal remains.
  • The Man and The Boy enter a deserted barn and then spot the legs and feet of people who've hanged themselves, followed by a brief full view of all three people (clothed, no blood).
  • We see a flashback to The Wife's water breaking and flowing down her jeans leg to the floor.
  • We see a miscellaneous man's urine stream as it hits the ground.
  • We see a miscellaneous man with a bad looking amputated leg.
  • The Man shoots a man who's threatening The Boy, with bloody results on that man as well as The Boy (who's unharmed). Later, The Man returns to the scene and sees what appear to be intestines or something similar on the road (possibly from the man who's been gutted for food).
  • Some emaciated people are dirty and/or slightly bloody, followed by The Man and The Boy spotting a bowl of blood with what appears to be a severed nose in that.
  • We see partially mummified remains in a bed under the covers.
  • The Man and The Boy come across a place with human skulls on sticks in the ground and others piled up, as well as blood in the snow on the ground. They then hear and spot a commotion from the distance, with a woman and child running from others who are armed. The Man and The Boy then flee, and hear sounds of the mother and child being attacked.
  • The Man has a coughing fit and then coughs up some blood.
  • The Boy vomits from being sick.
  • We see a miscellaneous man who's missing part of his thumbs.
  • The Man removes an arrowhead from his leg, seen in close-up, with very bloody results. He then uses a stapler to close up that wound.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A man grabs The Boy and threatens to kill him (when he comes across him and The Man).
  • The Man and The Boy come across a house where emaciated people are kept locked in the basement as food for others.
  • The Man and The Boy come across human skulls on sticks and realize cannibals are nearby. They then hide as such people chase after and presumably catch and kill a fleeing woman and child.
  • As The Man swims out to an abandoned ship in the ocean, we see the lower half of a person (armed with a knife) slowly approaching The Boy who's sleeping on the beach. When The Man returns, everything is gone, and he then runs along, carrying The Boy, eventually finding the man who took their stuff. That man shows his knife and The Man aims his gun, eventually causing the man to put the knife down.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We see a flashback to The Man and The Wife being awakened by sounds of turmoil (including screaming) outside, with light (from what are apparently massive fires) coming through the windows.
  • In voice-over narration, The Man states that the world is slowly dying, that all animals are dead, and that there are no crops. He also talks about cannibalism.
  • The Man and The Boy are awakened by a massive fire not far from them.
  • The Man and The Boy enter a deserted barn and then spot the legs and feet of people who've hanged themselves, followed by a brief full view of all three people (clothed, no blood).
  • We see a flashback to The Wife screaming loudly from labor pains.
  • The Man and The Boy hide in the woods when they hear a vehicle approaching from within a tunnel. As they hide, the truck with various armed men on and walking alongside it emerges and then breaks down. As some try to repair it, one man goes off into the woods to relieve himself. It's then that he spots The Man who has his handgun pointed at him, warning him not to alert the others. After a few moments and when The Man is distracted, the man grabs The Boy and holds a knife to his throat. The Man immediately shoots and kills that man, and then grabs The Boy who's bloody (but unharmed) and rushes off through the woods. Later, the two continue to hide as those men continue their search at night with lit torches, but they don't find The Man and The Boy.
  • We see a flashback to The Wife stating that when they're found (by people not identified), they'll rape her and their boy, kill all of them, and then eat them.
  • The Man breaks a lock off a door in the floor, goes down into the basement and finds various nude (nothing explicit seen) and emaciated people (who are dirty and/or slightly bloody, kept there for food by others). Some of them grab at The Man for help, but he and The Boy scurry out of there and close that floor door, only to see a bowl of blood with what appears to be a severed nose in that. They then see the "hunters" return and rush upstairs to hide in the bathroom. When one of them, a woman, starts to come up the stairs, The Man aims his gun at his son's head to put him out of future misery, but a disturbance down below grabs her and the others' attention. As they're distracted, The Man and The Boy race downstairs, unlock and window and crawl out. They run across the lawn and take cover, with two of the hunters coming out and looking around, including one with a telescope, but they don't spot The Man or The Boy. We then hear a distant hitting or chopping sound coming from the house.
  • While seated on the porch of The Man's boyhood home, The Boy hears something and goes to investigate (outside), and sees a boy. He chases after him, but The Man catches and stops The Boy from continuing that.
  • The Man finds a hatch cover in the ground, opens it, and cautiously goes inside (but it's just a storm cellar/bomb shelter sort of room with food, etc.).
  • While in that, The Man and The Boy later hear sounds from above, and worry that someone has found them.
  • The Man and The Boy come across a place with human skulls on sticks in the ground and others piled up, as well as blood in the snow on the ground. They then hear and spot a commotion from the distance, with a woman and child running from others who are armed. The Man and The Boy then flee, and hear sounds of the mother and child being attacked.
  • That's followed by an earthquake in the woods where The Man and The Boy must take cover from various dead trees falling over and nearly hitting them.
  • As The Man swims out to an abandoned ship in the ocean, we see the lower half of a person (armed with a knife) slowly approaching The Boy who's sleeping on the beach. When The Man returns, everything is gone, and he then runs along, carrying The Boy, eventually finding the man who took their stuff. That man shows his knife and The Man aims his gun, eventually causing the man to put the knife down.
  • An arrow suddenly flies by The Man and The Boy, with both taking cover behind their cart. Another, however, hits The Man in the leg and stays there, followed by The Man firing a flare gun up through the open window where the shooter is located. The Man then goes up there, arrow still in his leg, and finds an angry woman next to a man who was killed by the flare that's still burning in his chest.
  • The Veteran approaches The Boy who aims his gun at the man who's armed with a rifle. That man then talks The Boy out of aiming that gun at him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun/Rifles/Knife/Arrows/Flare gun: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • The Veteran approaches The Boy who aims his gun at the man who's armed with a rifle. That man then talks The Boy out of aiming that gun at him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "M*therf*cker," "I think you're chicken-sh*t," "I ain't putting down sh*t," "You piece of sh*t," "You don't need to be such a hard ass," "What the hell are you doing?" "You scared the hell out of me," "My ass," "G*ddamn you" and "You're kinda weirded out, aren't you kid?"
  • The Man demonstrates to The Boy how to commit suicide via a handgun should the situation turn even worse and necessitate that.
  • The Man removes an arrowhead from his leg, seen in close-up, with very bloody results. He then uses a stapler to close up that wound.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • An arrow suddenly flies by The Man and The Boy, followed by another hitting the former in the leg.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 5 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 5 "s" words, 4 hells, 2 asses, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see The Man's full rear nudity (including partial rear view of his scrotum) as he strips down to skinny-dip in a waterfall, while The Boy is seen in his shorts or underwear (a distant shot for both).
  • The Man breaks a lock off a door in the floor, goes down into the basement and finds various nude (nothing explicit seen) and emaciated people (who are dirty and/or slightly bloody, kept there for food by others).
  • We see a flashback to The Man and The Wife watching a performance, with The Man slowly running his hand up the inside of her bare thigh in her dress or skirt.
  • We see The Boy and then later The Man shirtless for bathing purposes.
  • We see The Man's full rear nudity as he enters the ocean to swim out to an abandoned ship.
  • The Man makes a thief strip down completely nude at gunpoint. We see the man holding his hands over his crotch, but we see a side view of that man's bare butt.
  • SMOKING
  • The Man smokes what looks like a discovered joint, but it could also be a cigarette.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a flashback to The Wife stating that her heart was torn out the day The Boy was born.
  • The Boy states he wishes he was with his mom. The Man asks if that means he wishes he were dead, and The Boy says yes.
  • The Man looks at a photo of his late wife in his wallet and then tosses that off a bridge. He then removes his wedding ring and slowly pushes it toward the edge of that bridge.
  • We see a flashback to The Wife leaving The Man and The Boy, but without saying goodbye to The Boy.
  • When asked, The Old Man says he did have a son, but then mutters "gone" and won't talk any more of that with The Man.
  • The Boy is upset with his dad over how he treats others (survivalist mode rather than compassion).
  • SPOILER ALERT: The Man gets sicker and is dying, thus causing The Boy a great deal of distress. The next morning, The Boy wakes up, and The Man is dead.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • In voice-over narration, The Man states that the world is slowly dying following an unidentified apocalypse, that all animals are dead, and that there are no crops. He also talks about resultant cannibalism.
  • The Man demonstrates to The Boy how to commit suicide via a handgun should the situation turn even worse and necessitate that.
  • The Boy states he wishes he was with his mom. The Man asks if that means he wishes he were dead, and The Boy says yes.
  • The will to survive despite the horrors experienced and/or witnessed.
  • The Boy is upset with his dad over how he treats others (survivalist mode rather than compassion).
  • VIOLENCE
  • The Man shoots a man who's threatening The Boy (with a knife), with bloody results on that man as well as The Boy (who's unharmed). Later, The Man returns to the scene and sees what appear to be intestines or something similar on the road (possibly from the man who's been gutted for food).
  • We hear the sounds of what's presumably human hostages (kept for food) being attacked and/or killed.
  • The Man and The Boy come across a place with human skulls on sticks in the ground and others piled up, as well as blood in the snow on the ground. They then hear and spot a commotion from the distance, with a woman and child running from others who are armed. The Man and The Boy then flee, and hear sounds of the mother and child being attacked.
  • An arrow suddenly flies by The Man and The Boy, with both taking cover behind their cart. Another, however, hits The Man in the leg and stays there, followed by The Man firing a flare gun up through the open window where the shooter is located. The Man then goes up there, arrow still in his leg, and finds an angry woman next to a man who was killed by the flare that's still burning in his chest.



  • Reviewed October 14, 2009 / Posted November 25, 2009

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