Believe in Me

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Believe in Me Movie Poster Image
Sweet, feel-good sports flick is girl-powered.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overlooked girls' basketball team realizes that they can -- and should -- play as competitively as their male counterparts. Coach Driscoll goes from grumbling about coaching girls to preferring it. The girls demand to be treated just like the boy athletes and command the respect and loyalty of their school and town.

Violence & Scariness

The Lady Cyclones get into an on-court fight with another team, and the girls punch, wrestle, and pull each other's hair. A father forces his daughter off the team by physically dragging her away.

Sexy Stuff

Mild kissing between the coach and his wife; a high-school student elopes and gets pregnant (causing scandal). In a brief locker room scene, a girl is shown in her bra.


About as clean as a live-action film can get: one instance of "ass," and mild utterances of frustration like "doggonit!"

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is one of the few films in the "inspiring sports drama" genre that deals with female athletes. Battling the sexist double standard that girls' teams don't matter as much as boys' is the movie's central theme. Based on a true story, the film is set in 1960s Oklahoma; men, particularly fathers, are depicted as having complete authority. One of the teenage athletes elopes and has a baby. At first it's a big scandal, but she's eventually accepted and let back on the team. Adoption is discussed as being a peculiar, uncommon occurrence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycoach5 October 11, 2010

a great movie for girls bball teams!

I love using this for inspiration with the middle school girls' basketball team that I coach! I also throw in how Jesus gives us our gifts and abilities fo... Continue reading
Adult Written bywhatever9696 April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2013

Wonderfully done

I liked this movie a lot . Me and my family watched this and didn't want to, because movies like these are usually sappy and predictable, but this one was... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 15, 2010

Way better than I expected!

I saw this movie last night with my family and I didn't want to watch it at all. I was glad I did though, because I enjoyed it a lot. Basically the worst p... Continue reading

What's the story?

Girls? The thought of coaching them seems preposterous to Clay Driscoll (earnest newcomer Jeffrey Donovan), who travels to Middleton, Okla., in the 1960s prepared to coach the varsity boys' team. But that position is filled, so he's forced to coach the girls' team -- the Lady Cyclones. Faced with an underperforming crew of untrained players, the coach begins to treat the girls like boys. They run laps in a closed gym and practice shots and plays they've never tried before -- and eventually their "old-fashioned grit" leads them to a Cinderella season culminating with the state championships. Along their way, Driscoll and the girls overcome several obstacles, most of all, gaining a fan base. Meanwhile, big man in town Ellis Brawley (Bruce Dern) can't stand Driscoll and his newfangled idea of empowering female athletes. Of course, the Lady Cyclones are up to the task of proving Brawley wrong. Driven by their caring young coach, the girls determine to play as hard as the boys, even though they know they'll probably end up "farmers' and ranchers' wives." Can they achieve their winning moment at State? You can only guess.

Is it any good?

Yes, it's predictable and features far less star power than many other sports dramas, but this film is a feel-good history lesson that all kids -- especially girls -- should take to heart.

Movies about underdog sports teams defying the odds to reach athletic victories are so common that they tend to blur together after a while (was that the one with the first all-black basketball lineup or the first integrated football team or the first season after a tragic accident?). And yet, each manages to be heartfelt, no matter how hokey the Hollywood formula has gotten. Believe In Me is no different -- except that this time the underdogs are girls.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the Lady Cyclones weren't as valued as the boys' basketball team. Is sexism still evident in high-school -- or even professional -- sports? What can be done to change that? How did Coach Driscoll treat his players "like boys"? How did the team prove Mr. Brawley wrong? What has changed since the 1960s for young women interested in sports? Can you think of female athletes who serve as role models in various sports? Why don't more sports movies deal with female athletes' teams?

Movie details

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