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A Warrior's Heart
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Warrior's Heart is a message-heavy, teen-becomes-a-man sports (lacrosse) film with a romantic subplot. Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the Twilight saga films' secondary actors, Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene are spotlighted here. The filmmakers make an earnest effort to show the Native American origins of lacrosse and acquaint viewers with the sport as a vehicle for inspiring healthy competition. There's some athlete-upon-athlete brawling, temper tantrums, and a brief shot of a jeep blowing up during wartime; there's also some mild swearing ("s--t," "damn," "hell"), and a Native American man is referred to as "a crazy Indian." Lutz's "abs" are featured in multiple scenes, and there are a few romantic kisses. Spoiler alert: The predictable plot is set in motion by the death of a parent.
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What's the story?
Conor Sullivan (Kellan Lutz) is a hotshot high school lacrosse player, far from being a good teammate, and very full of himself in A WARRIOR'S HEART. His goal is to be invited to attend and play for the Naval Academy after graduation. But when his military officer father is transferred from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., Conor must find acceptance on a high-profile Eastern prep school team. The new coach is cynical, aware of Conor's reputation, and complicating the young man's efforts is his growing infatuation with the coach's daughter (Ashley Greene). When a family tragedy strikes, the teen's temper and inability to cope with circumstances make an already precarious situation worse. It's only via the commitment of one of his dad's old friends and a forced trip to a Native American lacrosse camp in an Outward-Bound-like setting that Conor begins to develop the courage and maturity he will need to find his way.
Is it any good?
The film gets extra points for its efforts to portray the early Native American influence on lacrosse, a sport for both boys and girls that is growing in popularity throughout the U.S. Everything else is substandard. Clichéd characters, formulaic plotting, unmotivated behavior, and way-too-easy resolutions make this a tedious, insignificant offering. What's more, the scenes that take place on the lacrosse field are so ineptly shot that the sport's objectives and rules and the excitement of play are all missing entirely. It would seem that only teen (and maybe tween) audiences longing for more exposure of these popular yet minor Twilight characters will find this movie of any interest.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means when a movie is "predictable." Do you enjoy knowing everything that's going to happen along the way, or do you prefer to be surprised? Why?
If you were familiar with lacrosse before watching A Warrior's Heart, do you think it projected an effective and accurate view of the sport? If you were not familiar with lacrosse, do you think the movie was a good introduction? Why, or why not?
What do you think the filmmakers were hoping to do when they sent Conor into the backwoods with his dad's Native American friend? Did you believe his experience was enough to motivate the change in his character? What specifically was the purpose of tearing down the shack?
- In theaters: December 2, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: February 7, 2012
- Cast: Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Adam Beach
- Director: Mike Sears
- Studio: Xenon
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements, language, & rough sports action
Themes & Topics
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