Women of the world, this is a wake up call. If you, like me, were planning on going to see The Place Beyond The Pines for your (weekly? daily? hourly?) Ryan Gosling fix when it gets released tomorrow — March 29th, 2013 — DON’T DO IT. This is not the movie for you. It’s not a bad movie by any means, as long as you like three movies combined into one, but it suffers from a very common problem, in that Ryan is only in one third of it. Basically, if I was a doctor and this movie walked into my office, I’d be like, “I’m gonna tell you the same thing I tell all my patients — you need more Ryan Gosling. Go home, get your life together, and come back to me.” In unrelated news, I am not a very good doctor, but lots of ladies and movies at least try to take my advice, so that’s great.
The movie starts out with us meeting Ryan, who drives motorcycles in a very scary way that makes me uncomfortable but that he can probably handle because he has neck tattoos and bleached hair, two traits that typically suggest to me that people know what they’re getting into. He travels around with a carnival, basically, that takes him from town to town, and he’s apparently been in this one before, because when he meets Eva Mendes, he already knows her. By their latent silences, it’s obvious that something has gone down between them and it turns out that that something is a little baby! Ryan doesn’t know about it, but as soon as he does, he quits his circus job to stay in the town and take responsibility for Eva and the baby, even though he’s broke and she is living with another boyfriend. So in order to support his family, Ryan starts robbing banks, with the help of Ben Mendelsohn, who is awesome. But it is robbing banks we’re talking about, and Ryan Gosling does have neck tattoos after all, so it’s safe to assume that things don’t necessarily go off without a hitch.
I think pretty much everything after this point is a spoiler, so I’ll avoid completely ruining things for you and turn to vague language. Bradley Cooper appears about halfway through,and we think it’s gonna be his movie instead of Ryan’s. And for a while, it is, and that part of the movie is good, too. Do I wish it was more seamlessly integrated into the Ryan Gosling movie I was already watching? Sure, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, because I’d like to know where we’re going. (Also I’m still secretly hoping that Ryan will make a triumphant return. It’s foolish, I know. That’s the whole point of me writing this review, so that you can avoid the same stupid mistakes that I made. When Ryan’s gone, he’s gone! Don’t wait up for him, just have your dinner and go to bed.) But anyway, Bradley’s chugging along, and when his story lines start to wrap up, I’m shifting in my seat like, “Okay, fun, the movie must be almost over, so I can go home and watch Crazy Stupid Love again. What fun.”
But the movie isn’t almost over. There’s still another third movie tacked on to the first and second one, with a whole new plotline. It’s not a bad movie either, but I’d gotten kind of attached to those characters we met earlier, and I don’t like skipping whole decades, guys! Now we have to get to know two all new characters, and my brain is already tired from the first two movies and missing Ryan Gosling so much. Have I mentioned yet that I love Ryan Gosling and also that he isn’t in this movie enough? I hope so.