Parents' Guide to

Born to Win

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Faith-based story addresses abuse, alcoholism, disabilities.

Movie NR 2014 105 minutes
Born to Win Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+


A good and confronting truth. Once you are committed to God it does not mean you won't get hurt or that bad things won't happen. This doesn't mean that God has abandoned you.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This film addresses the age-old question: Why does God make bad things happen to good people? Naysayers rely on this to support the notion that God doesn't exist, or that God is cruel or that believers are fools. The faithful may find the answers offered here comforting: God never leaves us. Our trials are given to help us learn. But non-believers will find neither comfort nor satisfying explanations here. Henry, a young student who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, asks his teacher, Leon, to help him kill himself. Henry begs his teacher to leave the gate to the swimming pool open, but tearful Leon bucks Henry up with a story about the beautiful and strong arms and legs Henry will have after he dies and goes to heaven.

Logic lovers will be infuriated, but Born to Win isn't designed for anyone but the faithful. From that point of view, although Gregory Kriek seems far too old to play a college student, his performance as Leon is vivid and animated, and tears will be jerked from anyone with a pulse during scenes when he confronts a quadriplegic lamenting the limitations of his life and an amputee fearing no one will ever love her. The title of both the movie and the book it was based on suggests the metaphor that life is a competition that can, or should, be won. It's difficult to know what "winning" means here and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the competition can also be "lost." The deciding factor seems to be faith. For those who choose another path, this movie seems to say that you're out of luck.

Movie Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate