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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Stand up for yourself and for others who can't stand up for themselves. It's important to serve your country.
Positive Role Models
A man steals a valuable baseball card, a legacy left with him for safekeeping by his partner. He keeps the card, and the wealth it represents, from the man's widow and daughter, who have been evicted from their home. Dusty stands up against bullies and doesn't feel the need to change herself just so others will accept her. Dusty raises money to support troops in Afghanistan, then raises money to start an equestrian club at school.
Violence & Scariness
Teens tell a Muslim girl to "go home." A lieutenant is wounded in Afghanistan and returns with head and leg injuries. A pilot's helicopter goes down in Afghanistan and it takes search parties days to find her. She returns home uninjured. A horse dies of an illness. A girl's military father dies in combat. She tries to steal back something that belongs to her family and is sent to juvenile detention.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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"Heck" and "butt."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
High school seniors drink alcohol at school out of a brown paper bag.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Cowgirl's Story touches on many common teen issues, including bullying, starting at a new school, and trying to fit in. But the movie's backdrop highlights problems particular to military personnel deployed overseas, and the sacrifices they and their families make in the name of service to country. (The film is dedicated to those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.) This takes the plot beyond ordinary teen angst and also raises issues about the loss of loved ones and the dangers of war. In this case, a teen's Army Ranger father is deployed and wounded abroad and her Army pilot mother's helicopter goes down in Afghanistan, also providing tense moments. A beloved horse dies. Prejudice against Muslims is displayed and denounced, and both grand and petty theft are featured. The movie carries a message that miracles are possible with strong faith in a Christian God. 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 movie get high marks for neatness as every plot twist and conflict is tied neatly in a ridiculously perfect bow in a manner that bears absolutely no resemblance to reality. The necessity for belief in a Christian God is heavily touted here and miracles abound. Dusty's trusty horse dies and another almost magically replaces it, no visible money changing hands. A high school refuses to sponsor an equestrian team and, lickety-split, the tenacious Dusty raises the thousands necessary to supply horses, feed, and training so teammates who have never ridden before can perform flawlessly in what seems to be only minutes later. A thief admits his thievery and returns the valuable item he's taken. A cruel and dismissive mother becomes supportive and loving. A racist apologizes to the Muslim he's been bullying. A wounded soldier returns home to the daughter he left behind, battered but fine. Dusty's helicopter pilot mom goes down in a crash but miraculously makes it home unscathed. All the while, Grandpa, a military chaplain, advises that God will take care of everything if skeptic Dusty can only have faith, and not halfway kind of faith, but all-the-way kind of faith.
For this reason, A Cowgirl's Story is best appreciated by those who share the religious views the movie highlights. The themes may be a little heavy for sensitive kids, as well.
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.