A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Even in the face of harrowing or traumatic circumstances, it helps to hold out hope for a brighter future. Once there, you can look back and serve or motivate others in similar circumstances. Hard work, optimism, and resilience pay off when people are given opportunities and allowed to thrive. Many people aren't allowed such opportunities
Positive Role Models
The five subjects (and the director) of the film have all been compelled or forced to flee their home countries due to war or oppression under authoritarian systems. Each faced difficult journeys, life-threatening situations, and complicated transitions in the process, leaving behind family or coping with mental health challenges. Finding hope and purpose through training as elite athletes for the Olympics, the individuals profiled in the film demonstrate courage, perseverance, and resilience.
The subjects of the film come from Syria, Iran, Cameroon, and South Sudan. They have resettled and remade their lives in Europe, England, and refugee camps in Jordan and Kenya, where they have formed local friend groups and family. They are racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. Their stories could open up conversations about the contexts and histories that forced them to flee. All speak at least two languages.
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Violence & Scariness
No violence is shown on screen, but subjects discuss being forced to flee war-torn countries (images of a devastated Aleppo, Syria are seen), leaving beloved family members behind. There's mention of many dying or being killed in these scenarios, and end credits tell us some 120 million people are predicted to be displaced by war, hunger, disaster, and climate impacts. One refugee discusses his history of depression, which led to suicidal thoughts. Others recount distressing tales of escaping countries, being imprisoned, and suffering abuses. The stress of leaving family behind and competing at elite levels is also evident in their interviews.
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Subtitles in English reflect someone saying a curse word (in another language).
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Products & Purchases
Olympics and Olympic organizations and teams, athletic gear.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the documentary We Dare to Dream tells the sometimes harrowing, often uplifting stories of five refugees-turned-Olympic athletes. The subjects come from Syria, Iran, Cameroon, and South Sudan, and they have resettled in Europe, England, and refugee camps in Jordan and Kenya. While no violence is shown on screen, subjects discuss being forced to flee war-torn countries, traversing life-threatening journeys, leaving behind beloved family members, grappling with depression and suicidal thoughts, being imprisoned, and suffering abuse. End credits tell us they are but a drop in the bucket, and some 120 million people are predicted to be displaced by war, hunger, disaster, and climate impacts. The five subjects demonstrate courage, perseverance, and resilience in remaking their lives and training for the stressful world of elite athletics. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This documentary offers viewers a poignant glimpse into the refugee experience and with it a brief and perhaps too narrow view of a range of global socio-political scenarios. Though director Al-Kateab and the We Dare to Dream team have selected five athletes with compelling stories to follow, you get the sense that all of the members of the Refugee Olympic Team must have similarly harrowing and gripping stories. Look no further than last year's The Swimmers, a biopic about another member of the same team, for proof.
Al-Kateab makes sure to introduce her own experience fleeing Aleppo, Syria (the topic of her prior film For Sama), a smart decision that instills trust in her as storyteller and informs some of her later conversations with her subjects. The film competently weaves the stories of the refugees together in phases, from introductions to back stories to performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. Each person's experience surely deserves its own film, and you might be left wanting to know more details of what happened to send them all away from their home countries and into traumatic passages to new homes in refugee camps or Europe. But their stories will stay with you regardless.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.