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Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night”: Alcohol, Crime, and Confusion

Ben Affleck’s latest film “Live by Night”, which he wrote, starred in and directed, takes place in the 1920s during the era of Prohibition; a time when speakeasies were rampant and mob activity and corruption were at a peak.

Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is a proud outlaw; to him there is never a job too big. For his heist he is always accompanied by his partners Emma Gould and Dion Bartolo. The three are the most successful outlaws in the Boston area. That is until Emma Gould (Sienna Miller), Coughlin inside’s man, falls in love with him and they begin their forbidden affair.

Emma Gould also happens to Albert White’s girl. Albert White was one of the largest operating mobsters in Boston area at the time. Maso Pescatore (another widely known gangster in Boston and Tampa area) then approaches Joe and threatens to tell White about the affair if he doesn’t comply with him.

Things as an outlaw aren’t all that easy especially in an era where mobsters run almost everything including police stations. On Joe’s final heist before he plans to run away with Emma were concluded, they ran into trouble and got caught. Joe manages to escape and find Emma; in the midst of their escape Pescatore told White about the affair. Luckily the police got to Joe first; after he was released Joe became the largest Rum exporter in Tampa since he decided to work under Pescatore.

Coughlin’s work in Tampa took a sharp turn when he came across Graciela and Esteban Suarez. Graciela and Esteban are siblings that migrated to the United States from Cuba. They were running a speakeasy when Coughlin approached them about a future Rum purchase.

Graciela and Esteban were free spirits that never lost touch of their culture when they moved to the United States. Their speakeasy gave Tampa a little taste of what life in Cuba is like. Salsa music would be shown being played loudly and people would dance. As well as the typical Cuban smoking their cigars with friends and beer.

This scenery attracted Joe Coughlin thus creating his new relationship with Graciela and Esteban. Eventually Coughlin fell in love with Graciela and he continued his alcohol operations in Tampa.

Live by Night is a film filled with crimes done both for love, lust, corruption and wealth. It is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, and Jennifer Todd. Not only did Ben Affleck star in Live by Night but he also produced and directed it. This film is genius when it comes to expressing what a mob lifestyle was like in the roaring 20s.

Ben Affleck truly out did himself both as a producer and actor. He played Joe Coughlin, a man who manages to cheat death and outsmart the best of the best in the Tampa area. Despite all the changes Joe Coughlin is put through; Ben Affleck never breaks character. Making Live by Night a movie that gives you a glimpse at life during Prohibition.




Rocio Arias is a 17-year-old photographer and writer who is obsessed with all things prehistoric, music, T.V shows and make-up. You can check out some of her band reviews, movie reviews and celebrity interviews on South Florida's The Sun-Sentinel's website Sun-Sentinel.com under the Teenlink South Florida tab or follow her on Twitter @ughrocio and on Instagram @ugh.rocio.

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