Reservation Road parents guide

Reservation Road Parent Guide

Overall C

Ethan Learner (Joaquin Phoenix) is driving is son Josh (Sean Curley) home from a music recital. Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) has his son Lucas (Eddie Alderson) in tow after attending a baseball game. When these two parents collide on Reservation Road, a tragedy occurs that will change their lives forever.

Release date October 25, 2007

Violence C+
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Reservation Road rated R? The MPAA rated Reservation Road R for language and some disturbing images.

Parent Movie Review

If depicting a grieving parent is a quick way to win audience sympathy, then Reservation Road should have that in the bag because it contains two such sorrowing fathers.

Ethan Learner’s (Joaquin Phoenix) world is turned upside-down one night when he stops at a gas station and his young son is accidentally struck by a hit-and-run driver. On the same evening, Dwight Amo (Mark Ruffalo) and his young boy hit something in the dark while distracted by a cell phone.

These New England dads meet again thanks to an amazing “movie” coincidence. When a distraught and frustrated Ethan is unsatisfied by the local police department’s efforts to find his son’s killer, he decides to hire a lawyer to put some pressure on the officers. The attorney he chooses is none other than Dwight.

Needless to say, there are many tense meetings throughout the remainder of the movie while the audience waits for “The Moment” when Ethan will realize the irresponsible motorist he is looking for is the man right by his side.

Considering Phoenix has to look angry for two hours while Ruffalo does a tortured “what-am-I-gonna-do?” routine, the capable actors bring a lot of depth to the flat characters they are given. And the ten pounds of sweat viewers are likely to lose along the way is a testament to their skill.

Parents should also remember that the presence of young cast members (Sean Curley and Eddie Alderson) doesn’t mean this is a family drama. Although falling into the lower end of the MPAA Restricted rating category, the script contains several uses of the sexual expletives and a few other profanities. As well, there are violent depictions, such as the aforementioned car accident, a confrontation with a gun and some hand-to-hand fighting.

Still, the film’s biggest problem is that the story’s outcome hardly seems worth the suspense endured. Only showing the protagonist and antagonist wrestling with their pain, it never really offers any insights that might give the situation a glimmer of hope or some positive potential. Consequently, this journey down Reservation Road holds several points of interest, but ultimately leads to a dead end.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly.. Theatrical release October 25, 2007. Updated

Reservation Road
Rating & Content Info

Why is Reservation Road rated R? Reservation Road is rated R by the MPAA for language and some disturbing images.

This movie presents nearly continuous suspense as a character looks for a hit-an-run driver who is hiding in plain sight. Scenes of verbal tension between spouses, as well as a divorced couple, occur frequently. A young child is hit and killed by a vehicle (some detail is shown). A character with a firearm breaks into a home, then kidnaps and forcibly confines a man. A weapon is pointed at a man and at the gunman’s own head. A married couple briefly begins to engage in sexual activity (no nudity is seen). Language includes half-a-dozen sexual expletives along with some other moderate and mild profanities and terms of deity. A man drinks to relieve stress.

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Reservation Road Parents' Guide

Both of the fathers in this film are making mistakes. How can anger overcome our ability to forgive and prevent us from progressing in our life? Does getting justice help a person to let go? How can the guilt from a dishonest act punish someone even more than the law?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Reservation Road movie is April 7, 2008. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: 8 April 2008

Reservation Road drives onto DVD with deleted scenes, a featurette (Looking Back on Reservation Road), and an episode of the TV show Friday Night Lights (Last Days of Summer).

The movie is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85). Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English and French), with subtitles in English (SDH), French and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

Joaquin Phoenix can also be seen in Walk The Line. Mark Ruffalo stars in 13 Going On 30.