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The East Review Critics


Dave White Profile

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Village Voice Amy Nicholson

    For all its empathy and equilibrium, The East has nowhere to go after the script backs itself into a corner.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    This clever, involving spy drama builds to a terrific level of intrigue before losing some steam in its second half.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Bill Zwecker

    Marling has crafted a nicely taut, suspenseful cinematic journey into the world of corporate espionage.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Provocative, issue-oriented thrillers are in sadly short supply these days.But The East fills the bill with its examination of the intense commitment and anarchic impulses of eco-terrorist organizations. It's a fascinating subject on which to anchor a spy thriller.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    This is an effective genre piece. And Marling's quiet way of anchoring a scene is subtle enough to escape detection in almost any narrative circumstance.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Batmanglij balances emotional tension with practical danger nicely, a must in a story whose activist protagonists can make no distinction between the personal and the political.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Leah Greenblatt

    The East is still a compelling portrait of what gets lost (and found) when a cause becomes an obsession.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Possibly controversial messages in eco-terrorism thriller.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The East is a thriller about a spy who infiltrates a violent eco-terrorist group and becomes involved with its members. The movie doesn't specifically condone this anarchist behavior, though it's clearly angry about irresponsible corporate behavior and suggests that other solutions may be possible. There's not much fighting or shooting, but some blood is shown, and there are some strong images and dangerous acts. Some sexual situations arise, and nudity is suggested but rarely shown. Language is minimal, and a "natural" sleeping drug is used on the heroine. The movie's reactionary message will likely appeal to many teens; hopefully it will inspire good deeds instead of destructive ones.

  • Families can talk about The East's somewhat violent eco-terrorist, anti-corporate message. How do the movie's main characters justify their actions? Are they right, or is there a better way to get involved?
  • How does the anarchist collective demonstrate teamwork? How about trust? How does Sarah prove that she can be a member of their team? 
  • Who are the "good guys" and "bad guys" in this story? After a while, does the anarchist collective seem bad? Does Sarah's boss seem good?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie concerns itself with trying to stop evil corporate behavior, though the "eco-terrorist" group (or anarchist collective) may not choose the healthiest or most responsible ways of protesting. Teens may thrill to the fact that their activities seem to get results, even if those results are dire or deadly. Regardless, the movie doesn't necessarily condone these activities, and it may spark conversation as to what other means might be available. 

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Sarah is an interesting female role model, resourceful and brave and concerned with right and wrong. She occasionally slips as she becomes more seduced by the collective mentality (and by one man in particular), but overall she may be an inspiration for young women.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The movie centers on a group of eco-terrorists who carry out criminal, quasi-murderous acts against evil corporate entities. They slip drugs into champagne at a party, and people get deathly ill. They force a CEO at gunpoint to jump into a heavily polluted lake. Characters are shot. A makeshift operation is performed, and characters die. The main character slices her arm with a torn aluminum can to make it look as if she's been wounded in a fight. Some blood is shown. Disturbing news footage of environmental disasters, including animals covered in sticky oil, is shown.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Characters bathe together in a lake, and men and women are naked, though very little nudity is shown. A male character's naked bottom is shown as he gets out of a tub. Two main characters kiss and have sex, though no nudity is shown. The main character cheats on her boyfriend while on an undercover assignment.

  • language false2

    Language: Language is very infrequent.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character is given a kind of "natural" sleeping drug. She panics and tries to vomit it up before she passes out.