Into the West

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1 1/2

This is an unusual story about an unusual family. The widowed father (Gabriel Byrne), six-year-old Ossie (Ruaidhri Conroy), 12-year-old Tito (Ciaran Fitzgerald) and a grandfather (David Kelly) live in modern-day Ireland and are called "travelers" a term for gypsies. Papa has brought them to the city to live off of welfare in a tenement apartment house. The grandfather still roams the countryside in his makeshift horse and buggy, refusing to give up his traveling. Periodically he shows up to see his grandchildren. On one such wandering a wild white horse begins to follow the old man and stays with him all the way to the city. Ossie instantly bonds with the horse, and the two boys manage to smuggle their new pet onto the elevator and into their tiny apartment. From there, their adventures and misadventures begin. When the police confiscate the horse, the boys discover it has been sold to a wealthy businessman. They eventually recover their pet in a dramatic headline-making endeavor and run away to the Wild West to become cowboys. Children will have great fun watching Ossie and Tito and the horse interact in exciting, funny situations. Adults will find it engrossing and somewhat sad.

Many underlying messages about grieving, prejudice and homelessness permeate the plot, making the film more than just a child's story. The father's grief over losing his young wife drives him to drink; the grandfather blames his son-in-law for her death, and the boys feel abandoned. As gypsies, they are treated with contempt by city folks and with anger by the band of travelers they deserted. The boys must deal with finding food and shelter as they strike out on their own. In spite of their problems, there is a deep sense of love and caring in the family. Tito's tender protection of asthmatic Ossie is quite touching. While the father is shown hung-over, his drinking is not condoned and worries Ossie and Tito. Several crudities, plus Tito making an obscene gesture twice, give INTO THE WEST its PG rating. The film is void of any sexual activity or dialogue, and contains no nudity. Violence includes some pushing and shoving and one fist-fighting scene. Except for the obscene gestures, INTO THE WEST is a good film for families to watch together and discuss afterwards.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Mild - Once

Obscene Language: None, but boy uses obscene gesture twice

Profanity: Exclamatory (8) times

Violence: Few times - Mild and moderate (pushing, shoving, hitting; bloody face)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Father shown hung over; not condoned

Other: British slang term 'bloody' used few times; boy tries to steal newspaper

Running Time:
Intended Audience:

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.