A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of wrestling mayhem, bloody and violent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual references.
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Very strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol and drug use, including crack.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that like the WWE shows, Beyond the Mat is violent and profane. Unlike the WWE shows, this is the truth, and scenes showing Jake with his estranged father and daughter and Mick's wife and children horrified by a fight may be far more upsetting than the fights themselves. 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 is the best documentary since Hoop Dreams, and it isn't a coincidence that it, too, is about sports. That means that it's about money, ambition, competition, dreams realized and dashed, race, money, families -- both functional and dys -- integrity, money, corruption, rookies, veterans, money, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. And, did we mention money? In other words, it's about America.
If it had been fiction, we would dismiss it as a cliché. It has all the stock characters, from the young wrestlers with dreams, trying to break into the big time to the old-timers, families begging them to quit, who just can't walk away. And it has all the stock situations as the characters test themselves over and over, giving their heart and often many other parts of their body to see how far they can go, competing with each other and with themselves. And it's a story, as the narrator tells us, of "pageantry, athleticism, incredibly cheesy acting," of "strong men taking matters into their own hands," of guys who live to make people say, "I can't believe they did that!" -- of professional wrestling. It turns out that "it's not as fake as you think." The outcomes may be set in advance, but the blood is real.
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.