Reviewed by: Justin C. Rose—first time reviewer
value of lifelong friendships
donation of organs to help those in grave need
How should one deal righteously with unfair treatment?
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
What is SIN?
How can I know right from wrong? Answer
How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer
|Featuring:|| Morgan Freeman … Willie
Michael Caine … Joe
Joey King … Brooklyn, Joe’s granddaughter
Peter Serafinowicz … Murphy, Joe’s former son-in-law
Alan Arkin … Albert
Ann-Margret … Annie, a grocery clerk
Christopher Lloyd … Milton, the guys’ lodge buddy
Matt Dillon … Hamer, an FBI agent
John Ortiz … Jesus, a man who teaches the men how to rob a bank
Kenan Thompson … Grocery store manager
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|Director:||Zach Braff—“Garden State” (2004)|
|Producer:||Donald De Line
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|Distributor:||New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures|
Based on the 1979 film of the same name, “Going in Style” is the story of three elderly men who decide to step off the straight and narrow for just one day to rob a bank.
Joe, Albert, and Willie have given their lives to the Wechsler Steel Company in New York City and live in a great life of retirement… until the company is no more and neither are their pensions. Now, these three are living in a world of financial uncertainty.
Willie (Morgan Freeman), who is getting kidney dialysis treatments, hopes to see his daughter and granddaughter again, who live a great distance away. Albert (Alan Arkin) just lives on, waiting for the day he will die, and after Joe (Michael Caine) witnesses a bank robbery, they all decide to team up and rob the same bank, so their retirement can be permanent.
The three plan to steal only what their pensions would have paid out. So, to them, it is not really stealing so much as reclaiming what was rightfully theirs and stolen from them. They are not committing a crime so much as righting an injustice by wearing Rat Pack masks (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr.), carrying guns (loaded with blanks) and robbing a bank.
This film is funny, really funny, because of the chemistry these three actors have working together. After all, it’s Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin; they are so much fun to watch.
The music is also great in each scene, apart from one or two instances. In a scene where they practice robbing a convenience store, the music lends a quirky feel to the scene, but it fails on a specific part, for me, where they should have edited the music out for the punchline. It actually kind of ruined the punchline, for me, because it felt like the editor didn’t realize how funny the punchline was.
I did find it odd that a small convenience store had such a complex security system, even having three security officers, considering it was a corner store, but it still made for the funniest scene in the movie. Sure, it is New York City, but, still, I doubt that even Detroit’s corner stores have three concurrent security guards.
Joe and Willie love their grandchildren. Joe drops his granddaughter off and picks her up at school, and Willie just wants to see his granddaughter and daughter every day.
There is a positive story of redemption in connection with grandaughter Brooklyn’s father (Joe’s former son-in-law).
Many characters show respect for their elders throughout this film, which is good to see, considering how much of America does not show respect in that manner.
A character puts his life on the line by donating his kidney to a friend.
Revenge and theft are central parts of this film. The three claim that they are doing the right thing by taking from this bank which has been stealing from them. Much deception and many lies are used in creating an alibi for their crime. When asked by the police to identify the thieves, a little girl lies to the police to protect the “nice man.”
After the first robbery, one of the bank managers wets his pants, to which Joe replies, “there’s a pill for that.” We also see the three standing at urinals talking with their backs turned to the cameras.
A waitress hits on a married FBI agent. The three men are watching ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” and a woman on the show is wearing a dress with a very low neckline. Joe calls one of the contestants a “man whore,” and then goes on to remind his fellows that “she’s kissed ‘em all… with her tongue!” Willie replies by calling her a “walking venereal disease.”
Annie (Ann-Margret) tries to get Albert (Arkin) to get in a relationship with her. When talking about chicken, she suggestively asks him, “Breasts are much better than thighs, don’t you think?” He eventually gives in, and they are later seen in bed together. He also jokes later about how many times they have sex a day. Several other innuendos are sprinkled throughout the second half of the movie. ***SPOILER*** They do end up marrying each other in the end. ***END SPOILER***
Violent content: No one is shot in this movie, but guns are fired. The movie opens with a scene in which Joe witnesses a bank robbery. The robbers fire their machine guns in the air. Joe, Albert, and Willie later imitate the robbers, except this time their guns are loaded with blanks, because Joe does not want to hurt anyone.
Profane or vulgar language: God’s name is misused 11 times (3 with the d-word installed). Jesus Christ’s name is abused twice. Joe and Brooklyn do rebuke each other for their use of profanity. Other words include “h*ll” (8), “d**n” (2), “f**k” (1), “s**t” (11 or 12), “a**hole” (2), “a**” (1), “p**s” (1), “t*ts” (1), “bastards” (2), SOB (3), “cr*p” (5), “shut up” (1), plus “bloody” (4). A song on the soundtrack continually says “mother” while censoring out the f-word over 15 times.
Beer and wine are frequently used, and the characters are seen drunk. Brooklyn’s father sells marijuana. Joe and Willie (Caine and Freeman) smoke it and are seen high later. Albert jokes to Christopher Lloyd’s character that they were giving out cocaine to children.
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought I might enjoy it, and I did… until the third act. This film is about three old guys robbing a bank; it is a hilarious idea, and stars legends in acting. But after the third act began, it felt like the entire theater fell silent. I cannot remember hearing any laughter near the end of the film, even when some very funny stuff happened. I think for everyone else, the film suddenly became a drama, as opposed to a comedy, and they did not really care about the ending. Like watching many Adam Sandler movies, nobody really cared.
***SPOILER*** The fact that they get away with their theft in the end is what irritated me the most. If it were my movie, I would have had them arrested in the end, and maybe they would learn their lesson in the end, but it still could have had comedy, while they were in prison complaining about the food or something. However, this film does the complete opposite, sending the message that you can rob a bank and get away with it without guilt or consequences, especially if it is for a worthy cause. ***END SPOILER***
The Bible says, specifically, “thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” This movie goes against those commands from the Lord (plus “thou shalt not commit adultery,” but I wanted to focus on the main theme of this movie).
“Going in Style” starts out funny, but ends in a disappointing fashion, basing its views on the assumption that the end justifies the means, instead of the truth that sin has consequences.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to Heavy
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.