Box art for Being Flynn

Being Flynn

drama


Robert De Niro, Paul Dano and Julianne Moore give powerhouse performances in this compelling adaptation of Nick Flynn's award-winning memoir, Another Bulls-t Night in Suck City.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    51%
  • Audience Score
    41%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
2 out of 5

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.

what families can talk about

  • 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?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    51%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all Being Flynn reviews
  • Audience

    41%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: There is honest feeling, genuine humanity and real intelligence in this movie, but there is also a sense of caution, of indecisiveness, that undermines its potential power.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rotten: Writer-director Paul Weitz can't make the solipsistic central protagonists interesting, even though his best films (About a Boy, In Good Company) deal with surrogate father-son relationships.

- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, Friday, March 2, 2012

Fresh: The story is gripping, compelling. One wonders what De Niro might have done with such a role 30, 35 years ago.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, March 15, 2012

Audience Reviews

3 stars

"First off, great cast. I really liked more then half of the actor's in this and I was really wanting to see this movie. The story is depressing. The father and son are very much alike. They are both writers, loners, and dependent on substances to help them deal with life. Things really start getting ugly when Jonathan starts staying at the homeless shelter his son, Nick works at. Nick is embarrassed of Jon and wants nothing to do with him and even pleads with him numerous of times to, please leave. But Jon seems to think since he created Nick he has a right to him. It's as dysfunctional as it gets in this father and son tale. I did enjoy the movie and the story being told. I really think Dano and De Niro did a fantastic job. All the acting was good. A solid film."

- LWOODS04, Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 stars

Based on his memoirs, this is the story of Nick Flynn- a burgeoning writer who is struggling to find his place in the world. His mother committed suicide, and he hasn't seen his wayward con of a father in 18 years. Nick takes a job at a homeless shelter to aid in his quest for meaning, and one day happens upon his father who becomes a quest at the shelter. From there the film shifts its focus back and forth between Nick and his dad, both trying to live their lives. It all sounds like this could have been a rather sentimental film, and, while there is a tad bit of that in there, it's mostly unglamorous, not very sentimental, and rather bittersweet and melancholy. and make something of themselves, and both struggling to deal with the past and their current realities and fractured relationship with one another. It's also rather disjointed and unsure of itself at times. I applaud writer/director Paul Weitz for trying his hand at some mildly challenging material, but it feels like he never finds steady ground or confidence with this material all that often. He does have some major cojones for having his film start out with De Niro driving a taxi into the mean streets of NYC, though. As interesting as the character of Jonathan Flynn is, the movie is supposed ot be Nick's story, with Jonathan as a major supporter. When the film is solely focused on Nick, it's great, but when Jonathan becomes the main focus, the film isn't as good, and feels all over the place. However, this is still a really good story, and it's a fascinating look into the world of homelessness. Some of the best material has to be when Nick explains the day to day operations of things at the shelter, and it very much reminded me of those moments from some of Scorsese's mob movies that detail the daily operations of the criminal underground. This film even has a decent amount of voiceover! Man, Weitz really does have a lot of guts! Anyways, this film might be flawed, but it's still pretty good. What ultimately saves it are the performances. Dano is quite believable as the conflicted and lost Nick, and this is another example of how he is one of the best actors of his generation. Olivia Thirlby is also quite strong as Nick's 'love interest', a fellow employee at the shelter with a troubled past of her own. It was also nice seeing Wes Studi again, perhaps the first new film I've seen him in since perhaps the 90s maybe. Julianne Moore is also pretty good in her limited but important role as Nick's mom. And what about De Niro? Well, this is probably one of, if not the best performance of his is about a decade or so. He's great at conveying the delusions and frustrations of the angry, bitter, and unhinged Jonathan. He kinda goes off the deep end a bit much here and there, and this is far from a career best for him, but it's miles better than the bulk of what he's done recently. All in all, I do recommend this. It's got its problems, and barely scrapes by, but it is entertaining, and has some great performances, so I think that's enough to warrant a watch.

- cosmo313, Friday, November 16, 2012

2 stars

"Being Flynn" succeeds at making some very interesting observations about the burdensome relationship between parent and offspring, but for a film that deals with some very heavy subject matter (including drugs, homelessness, insanity, and dysfunctional families), it feels oddly weightless, fleeting, and ultimately a missed opportunity.

- fb791220692, Sunday, September 9, 2012