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Being Flynn Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Downbeat Family Drama: 1, You: 0 Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Robert De Niro has made several unwise choices in roles recently, and his belligerent wannabe writer in Being Flynn definitely adds to that list.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Is it possible for an actor to go through the motions even as he's going over the top? In Being Flynn, Robert De Niro does phoned-in scenery chewing.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The movie's emotional content was manifest as an absence. What stayed with me most memorably was the father's insufferable bombast and the son's sad passivity.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Robert De Niro and writer-director Paul Weitz find the most congenial material either of them has had in quite some time in Being Flynn.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Uneven, mature drama is too edgy for younger kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Being Flynn is based on Nick Flynn's memoir Another Bulls--t Night in Suck City and is a complicated, mature story about a father and son reunited under difficult circumstances. Much of the drama's material is weighty, including discussions about, and depictions of, homelessness, family estrangement, abandonment, jail time, and parental suicide, and may be too heavy for younger teens. Expect plenty of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more) and sexual innuendoes, as well as some relatively tame sex scenes (groping, kissing, but no graphic nudity). One scene does show a naked male butt, and there's quite a bit of drinking (sometimes to excess) and drug use, including both pot and crack. Underneath it all, though, is a message of redemption.

  • Families can talk about Being Flynn's messages. Is it a positive story overall, or a negative one? Can Nick forgive his father?
  • The movie is based on a memoir; how accurate do you think it is to what happened to the writer in real life? Why might filmmakers (or the author himself, for that matter) have changed facts to tell the story?
  • How does Being Flynn compare to other movies in which parents reunite with their children? Does it add anything new to the genre?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Amid Being Flynn's heavy themes (homelessness, family estrangement, abandonment, suicide) is the message that redemption is always possible, and forgiveness -- of yourself and others -- will help take you there.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The characters have both flaws and assets. Nick, especially, is in turmoil. But he's gifted with deep empathy, which helps him on his personal journey. He's kind and forgiving and open to change. He's also blessed with friends who support him at his most difficult times.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Jonathan has a mean streak. He brandishes a bat that he uses as a weapon and airs his prejudices in aggressive ways. He gets in fights -- mostly off-camera -- and the battle scars are sometimes visible. He also witnesses a homeless man beaten up by a group of teens. There's a brief scene in which a dead, bloodied body is displayed in front of a building. Suicide is a theme of the movie.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A couple makes out and winds up in bed (viewers mostly see the initial groping and kissing). Another couple is shown having sex, but there's no graphic nudity. A man's backside is visible while bathing.

  • language false4

    Language: Fairly frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "damn," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters are shown drinking beer and hard liquor, sometimes to excess. A man sneaks vodka into his orange juice just before he drives a taxi; as the movie progresses, he consumes more and more vodka. Another character smokes pot and graduates to harder drugs, including crack, which he's shown smoking in a stairwell.