Break Point

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Break Point Movie Poster Image
Quietly moving comedy about tennis, brotherhood; language.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Everyone deserves a second chance, even a brother who betrayed you (but didn't truly understand it at the time). Also, second-guessing yourself is the surest way to ensure defeat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jimmy is a rude, messy, selfish wildcard on the tennis circuit, but he also cares about his family and has a heart he conceals because of his own insecurity. Darren holds grudges but is able to rise above them when push comes to shove. Their father is kind and wise, even though he sometimes waits too long to share his wisdom.

Violence

Two men tussle after a tennis match, punching each other. A man belittles his tennis partners (among many other rude behaviors), and some retaliate with passive-aggression.

Sex

One character strips online for paying customers (though she's not shown doing so, just wearing a cleavage-revealing top). Some kissing and innuendo.

Language

One character is coarse and curses, sometimes in front of children; he and others use words like "damn," "a--hole," "s--t" and "f--k."

Consumerism

Primarily tennis-related brands like Head and Penn, and, in one scene, the Kia Sorrento.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One adult character drinks often, throughout the day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Break Point is a thoughtful comedy masquerading as a rough-around-the-edges romp with a mouthy athlete as one of its main characters. Expect some salty language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and drinking (one character likes his beer a little too much, even when he's training), as well as punches being thrown and some innuendo/sexual references -- as well as kissing and a character who strips online for money (nothing graphic is shown). Underlying everything is a message about second chances and forgiving others -- especially family.

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What's the story?

Jimmy Price (Jeremy Sisto) is a middling tennis pro who can't keep a doubles partner, partly because he's rude and selfish and also because he's not serious enough about the game. When he loses yet another partner -- who winds up humiliating him and reminding him of his dwindling future options -- Jimmy decides to ask his brother, Darren (David Walton), a recently unemployed substitute teacher, to step get back out on the court with him. They have a bad history: Jimmy and Darren were once partners, too, and could have taken the circuit by storm, but Jimmy dumped his brother to team up with someone else. Plus, Jimmy thinks Darren's game is too "conservative," and Darren thinks Jimmy is "reckless." But, as Barry (Joshua Rush), Darren's former student who himself faces family troubles, puts it, Darren has nothing to lose -- he's "a single, unemployed teacher" -- by taking Jimmy's offer seriously. And that he does.

Is it any good?

BREAK POINT is a slow burn: Like the game it portrays, it hits lulls at moments and then rallies to a satisfying finish. Credit goes in large part to Sisto and Walton, who are convincing as brothers. They have the tense-but-love-filled dynamic down pat, as well as the competitive nature of siblinghood.

Yes, you can spot the ending a game, set, and match away -- and some plot points, like David's break-up with an ex, are dangled and discarded for apparently no other reason than inattentive editing/directing. But the movie is also watchable for other reasons, including the charming appearance of young Barry, and the tennis, which manages to persuade viewers that this is a sports movie, too, even though it was clearly made on a budget and doesn't feature any major tennis greats, or particularly impressive tennis moves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Break Point's message. What audience do you think the movie is aimed at? How can you tell? How might it be different if it were targeted at another audience?

  • Talk about the relationship between the brothers. Is there one clear "villain," or are both Jimmy and Darren somewhat responsible for the disintegration of their dynamic? How do you and your siblings get along?

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