The Grade Book: “The Place Beyond the Pines”

The Place Beyond the Pines

Plot: A motorcycle stunt driver turns to crime as a means of supporting his family, with his actions affecting the lives of many. 

Director: Derek Cianfrance. 

Writers: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder. 

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, and Dane DeHaan. 

Genres: Crime, Drama.

Running Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes.

MPAA Rating: R.



(Lowest Grade: A-, Highest Grade: A+)


SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Ambitious, thought-provoking, and beautifully dramatized, The Place Beyond the Pines may very well be one of the best films to come along in the past few years.



  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: A-

The less you know the better! What a wonderful surprise!

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A+

This is one of the most ambitious movies I’ve ever seen, and I loved every minute of it. Bradley Cooper is Oscar-worthy, and Ryan Gosling and Dane DeHaan are both phenomenal as well. The story takes very surprising twists and turns but it all works and wraps up perfectly. If you haven’t seen the trailer, don’t. Just go into this movie knowing nothing will create the best experience possible.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: A+

Genuinely and honestly, this is one of the most spell-binding and thought-provoking films I’ve seen in years. Many would say it is overly ambitious and takes more than it could chew, but in my opinion the execution is nothing short of brilliant given the material presented. In essence, the story shows how one small miniscule decision you make in life can affect the lives of multiple others and their offspring of the pedigree tree. And what’s most intriguing is that the chain of events could be potentially monumentally terrible! Destined for classic American stature!

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: A+

The less that’s known about this movie is for the better. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper give spectacular, award-worthy performances, the story is unique and clever, and director/screenwriter Derek Cianfrance knows how to tell three stories in a linear fashion without making its two-and-a-half hour running time feel slow at all. This is, without a doubt, the first perfect movie of 2013. 

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: A

This film is a rare gem that honestly just came  out of nowhere. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper are absolutely phenomenal in the film and are both worthy of Oscar nominations for their performances. The film is set up like a three-act play which allows for the story and suspense to build nonstop throughout the entire film. Along with the superb acting, pacing, and story, you also have some of the most skillful dramatic direction that I have seen in years. Honestly, it is only April but I seriously think that The Place Beyond the Pines might be one of the year’s best films. I only hope people will remember this one around awards season because it’s definitely worthy of several nominations.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: A-

Another excellent film from Derek Cianfrance. While the movie is a bit on the long side and it is a bit talky, The Place Beyond the Pines deals with the themes of family, consequences for actions, how generations affect other generations, and fate. Excellent acting all around, beautiful cinematography, an excellent script, a great soundtrack, and a fantastic ending. Pines is an overall excellent film. This should be shown in film classes when teaching about scripts or narratives.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: A

The Place Beyond the Pines is lengthy and flawed (mostly due to some character development), but such things can easily be forgiven because the film is so damn good. Derek Cianfrance’s direction is skillful, the cinematography is beautiful, and the acting (especially by Ryan Gosling and Dane DeHaan) is excellent . This is an ambitious film that sticks with you, and it’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long while.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: A

A fantastic film written for dysfunctional characters that intertwine in a great story. Gosling pulls off a great performance as usual. However, Bradley Cooper steals the show with his best performance yet. Tension, drama, and some cool stunts with a motorcycle, what could be better?

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