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This Must Be The Place (2011)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 8,882

My Rating

Movie Info

Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a former rock star. At 50, he still dresses 'Goth' and lives in Dublin off his royalties. The death of his father, with whom he wasn't on speaking terms, brings him back to New York. He discovers his father had an obsession: to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered. Cheyenne decides to pick up where his father left off, and starts a journey, at his own pace, across America. -- (C) Weinstein


Drama, Comedy

Mar 12, 2013


The Weinstein Company - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (82) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (29)

Penn has created a colorful tour guide, but in "This Must Be the Place," there's no there there.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Paolo Sorrentino handles the story with surprising thoughtfulness.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cast ... is outstanding, dragging the offbeat story through the occasional look-at-me distractions.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although "This Must Be the Place" holds our attention, it's a little difficult to say where it's headed.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you give Penn (and the movie) a chance, the character works, movingly and somewhat miraculously.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie replaces emotional precision and intellectual honesty with syrupy sincerity and insistence.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The conceit of showing a pop-culture figure's life out of the limelight is beyond hackneyed, but the film's incongruous visual splendor and Penn's all-or-nothing commitment keep Sorrentino's unabashed folly afloat for a while.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Sorrentino's aggressively life-affirming movie has wormed its way into the hearts of a surprising number of usually sensible, discerning critics.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

As oddly magnetic as Sean Penn's performance is, the film seems more preoccupied with being quirky and puzzling than with telling a cohesive, satisfying story.

January 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

"It would take a week mucking out a pork pie factory to acclimatise for a hamfest as nauseating as this."

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Star
Daily Star

Penn's Cheyenne is endearing and ultimately a little bit heartbreaking.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Knight at the Movies
Knight at the Movies

... a fascinating character study that goes beyond simple quirks and mannerisms.

November 22, 2012 Full Review Source:

Hits some wild notes but never quite finds its niche

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Sean Penn performs another one of his amazing transmogrification acts as the rock star Cheyenne in This Must Be the Place.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Feels like a cult movie waiting to happen, or perhaps a mad experiment gone wrong. Either way, it's worth watching Penn, perhaps unwittingly, taking Jeff Spicoli to the burned-out end we might have guessed for him back at Ridgemont High.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times

Adjust to the Oscar winner's deadpan cartoon impersonation, and you may get on the wavelength of this quirkfest.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

Immensely entertaining and occasionally very moving.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: RedEye

We begin to wonder why Penn even bothered with such a flimsy project in the first place. Let's not stop here very long.

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

The old country comes to the New World in a magical tale with ancient roots of a prodigal son returning for revenge . . .like a cinematic DeToqueville. . . kooky and lovely.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source:

Less than the sum of its parts.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Audience Reviews for This Must Be The Place

A retired Goth pop star tracks down a Nazi who oppressed his deceased father. The script is a bit wonky, but Sean Penn has some great moments in a unique against-type role as the effeminate, tormented ex-rocker.
June 18, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Meandering and episodic 'This Must Be The Place' is Italian born Paolo Sorrento's first foray into English language cinema and the result is interesting if inconsistent. Playing out as a coming of age/road movie hybrid the story charts aged goth Cheyenne's across America is search of a nazi war criminal responsible for humiliating his father.

As Cheyenne's journey progresses it becomes more strange, indulging in quirkiness at the cost of story and somewhat isolating itself from the viewer. Tonally the film is inconsistent, with moments of comedy turning into those of drama in a jarring fashion. Despite its problems the film occasionally reaches the level of intrigue it strives for and Penn's Gothic performance is oddly endearing if a little tiresome.
June 9, 2013
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

This Must Be The Place was a strange wonderful film. I loved Cheyenne. I haven't loved a character so much since Hesher. Sean Penn gives out such a great performance in this movie that I forgot that it was him. The story is unique and so interesting. I didn't read what the movie was about. I simply seen Penn all dolled up in make-up and had to see why. So I was really surprised where the story took me.
Cheyenne is a washed up musician who has been out of the game for 20 years but is still famous and recognizable by most. He's kinda hard to not be noticed with his appearance. He has kinda checked out on life too so when the news of his fathers passing comes, who he hasn't seen or spoken to in 30 years, he takes the opportunity to leave Dublin and travel to find his fathers Nazi tormenter.
The movie is one of the better independent films I have seen in a while. I really loved the cast. I enjoyed the music too. It really is one of those films that are only going to be loved by some and hated by others. It takes a certain taste to enjoy this strange yet intriguing story.
April 9, 2013

Super Reviewer

Strange little movie (not that I expected otherwise). Sean Penn plays an ageing goth who, due to a tragedy, has not really evolved in life. I am not sure if the film is saying that is a bad thing or not. I have to say, I did not like the ending very much.
I enjoyed the road trip bits. Nice scenery and interesting characters. Sean Penn's Cheyenne also grows on you, though initially I wondered if he was meant to be mentally challenged. This is the kind of movie that works better if you just go with it and not try and think if it makes sense, because it kind of doesn't. As a story, it's kind of all over the place, and can't even get my head around the nazi part, but the interesting characters and laid back pace save this.
March 30, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Cheyenne: My instincts tell me pedantry is an essential characteristic for capturing Nazis.
    – Submitted by Patti K (12 months ago)
    1. Cheyenne: Why is Lady Gaga?
    – Submitted by Patti K (12 months ago)
    1. Cheyenne: No, Jane, I'm not trying to find myself. I'm in New Mexico, not India.
    – Submitted by Adnan K (15 months ago)
    1. Rachel: Fear always saves as.
    2. Cheyenne: Always.
    3. Cheyenne: But you have to choose a moment in your life, even one, to not be afraid.
    4. Rachel: Have you choose that moment?
    5. Cheyenne: Yes, right now.
    – Submitted by Laura G (20 months ago)
    1. Cheyenne: There's something not quite right about this. I'm not sure what, but something.
    – Submitted by Shamita S (20 months ago)
    1. Cheyenne: Persistence...and time...thats what wins girls over. It makes them feel safe.
    – Submitted by Gregory W (22 months ago)
View all quotes (9)

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Foreign Titles

  • Cheyenne - This must be the Place (DE)
  • This Must Be the Place (UK)
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