Parents' Guide to

Untold: Johnny Football

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Sad tale of addiction, downfall of hyped athlete; language.

Movie NR 2023 72 minutes
Untold: Johnny Football movie poster: close-up of Johnny Manziel center in baseball cap and wearing eye black under one eye

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Johnny Manziel Movie A terrible message to kids today

It is clear that Johnny Manziel was an entitled spoiled brat with a very enabling codependent father. His father, in the movie blamed Texas A&M for not controlling his son while he attended college there. No, Mr. Manziel, it was your job to teach you so to be a responsible, mature young man. Also the movie never addressed if Johnny is now sober and shows him more recently with a beer. So this young man got rich making a movie about himself doing drugs, being dishonest, lying, breaking rules and womanizing and it never conveys that this behavior has ceased. What will a young person learn from this movie? Be a gifted athlete and act crazy, never change your behavior, be arrogant. make a movie, continue to not work , continue to do drugs (alcohol is a drug) get rich and laugh all the way to the bank. Not a good movie to show young people about living a responsible life. But one can clearly see why this young man's behavior continued for years unchecked.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The story of Johnny Manziel is a tragic one. Chronicling Manziel's incredible rise and fall in Untold: Johnny Football, this documentary easily showcases his natural ability and prowess on the football field in high school and college. But Manziel's desire and appetite for alcohol and partying are also easily documented here, with stories and examples of his behavior in abundance. The majority of information and insight comes from people around Manziel (his best friend during high school and college, his coaches, his family) and Manziel himself, innocently sitting in a chair, casually discussing his own fall from grace. Ultimately a story of addiction and a too-late bipolar disorder diagnosis, this tragic tale outlines Manziel's collapse almost systematically but struggles to get to any deeper meaning to Manziel's story. Electing to assume that the lessons of Manziel's life are self-explanatory, this documentary doesn't strive to make any conclusions.

Doing so gives this presentation a reporting vibe rather than one of opinion, which is probably good for some reasons and bad for others. Not choosing to add commentary to Manziel's story allows the documentary to feel observational rather than personal, even while Manziel's family and inner circle do their best to humanize him and explain away the worst of his behavior. But adopting a purely observational take on Manziel also ends up kind of making Manziel seem like he doesn't really care (and also doesn't comment on or show remorse for his behavior that led to his ex-girlfriend accusing him of domestic abuse). In other similar kinds of stories, the recovering person uses their experience to give back in some way, share their story so that others might not go down the same path, but here, Manziel seems indifferent. But again, for many, his story will still speak for itself.

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