Parents' Guide to

4 Minute Mile

By Fiona Maloney-McCrystle, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Runner rises above home life in sports drama with edge.

Movie PG-13 2014 95 minutes
4 Minute Mile Poster Image

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This film proves to be an interesting combination of the typical and the atypical. In many ways, it presents a formulaic hero's-journey-in-sports-form story line, but it also offers a welcome twist in what had the potential to be an otherwise routine ending. In other words, it's not afraid to have its hero fail both on the track and off, yet it still finds a way for him to win -- a victory that ends up being by no means the standard measure of a runner's success, but one that the film teaches could perhaps matter even more.

The pacing of the film can feel a bit inconsistent at times -- it's driven during the (perhaps too repetitive) scenes of Drew running around Seattle, as well as during the tense scenes of violence and confrontation, but it lags during talking scenes that at times contain slow, disjointed dialogue. And it certainly has its share of clichés -- the wise old has-been as a coach with an unconventional style, the skeptical athlete slow to buy in but unreasonably talented, and the need to confront your own personal challenges in order to truly excel. But many of the typical sports drama messages may be welcomed by viewers, who will likely find them worth repeating. Though seasoned runners may wince at some of the details, Drew's tale is undoubtedly a testament to the way that athletics have the power to transform a life as a whole -- providing a path to a more secure future, teaching the life-long values of dedication and mental strength, and instilling an unparalleled confidence in personal ability. Viewers will find themselves whole-heartedly invested in Drew's success and thus taken on a bit of an emotional roller coaster by the end of what proves to be, for the most part, a compelling tale.

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