Place Beyond the Pines Movie Reviews
User reviews on Place Beyond the Pines
20 people in the audience and three left half way through the movie.
I really enjoyed the last movie this director did with Ryan Gosling - "Blue Valentine" - which was a dark and disturbing portrayal of a marriage that was in the last dying gasps of its viability. This movie is similar but sort of the opposite in that it shows relationships being born rather than dying out which is both encouraging and troublesome for the main character Luke (played by Ryan Gosling) and Avery (played by Bradley Cooper). The story takes a while to build up but once it does it manages to play pretty well, though it never feels quite as consequential or as meaningful as did "Blue Valentine". It's probably a bad idea to look at both movies together at the same time since they are obviously different entities, but they are similar enough that it's hard to completely put one out of your mind while watching the other. This one aims just as high, but manages only to get about three quarters of the way there.
Okay...so Ryan Gosling? YUM. Ryan Gosling *and* Bradley Cooper?? YUMMER!!! My two favorite actors in a small, independent movie that really lets them show off their amazing acting chops. After I saw Gosling as the crazy loser Dean in "Blue Valentine" I didn't think he'd be able to top that performance any time soon. He comes close in this movie where he plays Luke, a young guy who is always on the go but whose girlfriend surprises him one day when he returns and she tells him that she is pregnant. Poof and presto, he is now daddy. Then there's Bradley Cooper, a cop who seems to have all of his priorities in order and who wants to be a dad but something is holding him back. Both of them do a stellar job and I think it might even be worth saying that this is probably Bradley Cooper's best performance to date. He's even better in this than he was in Silver Linings Playbook. He deserves another nomination for sure!
Like practically every other woman on the planet worth her X chromosomes, I find Ryan Gosling utterly enchanting. He's just the ideal guy in every conceivable way - smart, sensitive, and dare I say sexy? Lol, I am a bit older than him so it makes me feel cougarish to objectify him like that, but hey, I can still look, right? He's also mega talented, and he proves this again in a fine and nuanced performance as a young guy who has fatherhood thrust upon him when he isn't really interested in being a father. I liked this movie because it showed how characters can grow up and begin to act like mature adults when circ**stances force them to. It is also a great vehicle for Bradley Cooper who plays the opposite side of the same coin - he wants to be a father, but is afraid of what will happen if he isn't good enough. It's a tough battle for both. Eva Mendez is also very good in it.
If you haven’t seen Ryan Gosling’s tremendous work in Blue Valentine, then you should see it before you see The Place Beyond the Pines. In his second outing with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, Gosling plays a well-meaning and disaffected father once more – only this time, he knows he’s in trouble.
The story is about fathers and sons – and mothers and fathers in terms of how they relate to one another as co-parents. Gosling plays Luke, a young father whose heart and spirit are designed to roam, not to be tied down to the bedrock of fatherhood. Then there is Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), an older guy who wants to be a father but just can’t seem to make space in his orderly life for something he claims to desperately want. Why do we hold our dreams at arms length, the film asks, even when the opportunity to make them real is within our grasp? And why, when others are living our dreams, do we fail to pursue the same on our own terms?
The film doesn’t always rise to the occasion in the way that we might hope. It ties up its many loose ends in far too neat a fashion toward the end (something that never happened in Blue Valentine). But the performances are spot on – especially Bradley Cooper, who turns in what is arguably his best work to date – and you just might find yourself mystified by Cianfrance’s ability to make misery majestic.