Brink!

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
Brink! Movie Poster Image
Disney rollerblading movie addresses gender and race issues.
  • NR
  • 1998
  • 99 minutes

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The purpose of the movie is to entertain rather than educate, but there are a number of positive messages.

Positive Messages

The movie champions teamwork, exercise, hard work, and how putting in the time and effort helps you to excel at any given activity. However, it also promotes the idea that recreational activities should be fun. Strong family communication. Positive gender roles although these are enforced by some sexist language and behavior. One use of racist language.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Andy "Brink" Brinker goes against his morals and his friends to join a sponsored rollerblade team in order to earn money for his family. Jimmy overcomes his awkwardness to have an open talk with his teenage son. Gabriella addresses the use of gendered language and doesn't follow "traditional" feminine norms. Rollerbladers all wear protective gear.

Violence & Scariness

Rollerbladers suffer rough looking falls but are always in protective gear. An adult character grabs a teen. A character is pushed over. Chocolate milkshake is thrown in someone's face. Live worms are put in a character's sandwich.

Sexy Stuff

Mild flirting.

Language

Negative language includes "butt," "jerk," "wuss," "snot," “jerk weeds," and "shut up." "God" is also used as an exclamation. Sexist jibes and one racist taunt -- a Peruvian character is told to "go back to Mexico."

Consumerism

A fictional corporation sponsors a skate team, giving them money and gear -- depicted in a negative light.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brink! is a live-action Disney TV movie, from 1998, about rollerblading that contains mild moments of verbal and physical exchanges. The sport features heavily and the skaters wear the correct protective gear. Andy "Brink" Brinker (Erik von Detten) leads the "Soul Skater" team who rollerblade only for fun. Their rivals are the local sponsored team, the "X Bladz," who the Soul Skaters call "sell-outs." The movie sides with the Soul Skaters and the leader of the X Bladz, Val (Sam Horrigan) is particularly nasty, both verbally and physically. At one point he causes injury by sabotaging a race. Other instances include a milkshake being thrown into someone's face and live worms being placed inside a sandwich. There is some use of sexist and even racist language -- Gabriella (Christina Vidal) a Peruvian girl is told to "go back to Mexico." With Brink's father out of work, Brink sees a place in the sponsored team as a way to earn money and keeps it secret from his friends. The movie's not particularly explicit as to why sponsorship is bad, other than following the widely assumed 1990s youth attitude that working for a company lacks integrity. The idea that a sport is best when it's done for fun comes through. The movie also features good parent-child relationships, teenagers talking openly about their home lives, and positive gender representation.

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What's the story?

In BRINK!, Andy "Brink" Brinker (Erik von Dettenhas his skills, principles, and friendships tested when he tries out for a sponsored rollerblade team to help bring in extra money for his family.

Is it any good?

A solid sports movie, with abundant rollerblading action sequences, this also works on an emotional level. Brink (von Detten) goes from a happy-go-lucky boy to a teenager carrying the weight of family money worries, moral dilemmas, and judgmental friends. Von Detten makes Brink relatable at every step. Elsewhere, Val, is a controlling bully and is portrayed suitably slimy by Sam Horrigan. Christina Vidal also gives a stand-out performance as Soul Skater Gabriella, who takes people to task for addressing the team as "guys," dislikes dresses, and is armed with barbed comebacks against the racism and sexism she encounters.

Screenwriter Jeff Schechter also gives periphery characters emotional beats, too. Soul Skater Peter (Patrick Levis) discusses his stepfather problems and Brink's dad, Jimmy (Geoffrey Blake) is particularly moving during a heart-to-heart with his son. Much like Schechter managed in a similar scene in Beethoven's 3rd, the father-son moment is a joy to watch, with emotional heft and a positive message that gives equal time and respect to father and son. A fun ska-punk soundtracked time capsule, Brink! is a successful sports movie and emotional journey.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the gender and race issues raised in Brink! How is Gabriella treated by the boy characters? How does she handle this? Is she correct to handle it in this way? How would you behave if you were in Gabriella's position? Tips for battling stereotypes.

  • Brink lies to his friends to join the X Bladz. How could he have handled the situation differently? How can I use media to help my kid's communication skills?

  • Sponsorship is portrayed in a negative light in the movie. What do you understand sponsorship to be? Why might it be seen as problematic? What examples can you give of sponsorship in sport?

  • Val sabotages the race track and causes injury to a Soul Skater. Is winning at any cost the most important thing or should sport be a more positive experience? Discuss the balance between hard work and having fun when it comes to sport.

Movie details

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