F(l)ag Football

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
F(l)ag Football Movie Poster Image
Heartfelt documentary about gay football league.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 94 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Many positive messages about working hard, being true to yourself, and being a good teammate. Themes include compassion, courage, humility, teamwork, and perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many positive role models, including all of the coaches. The Phoenix team raises money not just for the team but also to give back to gay youth in their community. Cyd Zeigler started the league and helped New York Warriors Coach Wade Davis come out to his family. All the players work together -- not just to win, but to be better players. Some of the players get into it with each other, but they hug it out in the end.

Violence

A couple of the players get in verbal arguments while practicing; someone has to intervene. They shout rude comments at each other during practice and in games.

Sex

Brief scenes with sexually suggestive movements, including in a dance club and in a drag show. Kissing.

Language

Lots of swearing while playing football including "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," etc. One racially insensitive moment between teammates. The movie's title is a play on a derisive gay term.

Consumerism

Men drink Bud Light and lace up name-brand shoes, but it doesn't appear to be product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The players drink together, including doing shots. Some talk about "partying."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that F(l)ag Football is a documentary that follows three teams to the National Gay Flag Football Championships. Some of the players tell emotional stories about coming out, finding a community in football, and what it means to them to compete in the championship game. There's quite a bit of swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more; players also drink, and there are a couple of sexual references and kissing between some of the men. But mostly, this is an interesting, sometimes touching film about what it's like to be gay in a predominately straight male sport. Themes include compassion, courage, humility, teamwork, and perseverance.

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What's the story?

In F(L)AG FOOTBALL, director Seth Greenleaf follows three teams as they train for and compete in the National Gay Flag Football Championships. The New York Warriors appear to be the team to beat, with former NFL player Wade Davis at the helm. He's up against the intense Cyd Zeigler's L.A. Motion, as well as the Phoenix Hellraisers, the fun-loving team hosting the Gay Bowl. The players' intense love of the game is only part of the moving story of how they found their way to the biggest gay football event in the country.

Is it any good?

The film's best moments aren't about football at all; they're when the players talk about growing up loving the game and feeling conflicted about how society thinks they should act off the field. Wade Davis, former NFL player and coach of the New York Warriors team, hid his sexual orientation when he played professionally, not coming out until years later. It's his story and those of the other players from the around the country that are the most compelling.

There's a lot of talk about how to win and beat the other team, but there are also heartfelt moments when players talk about what it meant to them to find a place where they belonged and could be completely themselves. F(l)ag Football is a little slow in parts, but families interested in sports and inclusivity will find a lot of like. And the Gay Bowl game is exciting and emotional whether you're a football fan or not.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how F(l)ag Football is and isn't like other sports movies/documentaries. What sets it apart from similar movies? How is it similar?

  • Did you come to the movie with any stereotypes about football players -- or gay people? Did the film change your mind in any way?

  • Many of the players talk about how great it was to find a community. Why is a feeling of community so important? Do you have a group of friends who love the same things you do?

  • Talk about Wade Davis' story of coming out to his mother. What do you think about her reaction? What do you think you'd have done in his situation?

  • Should documentaries be fully objective? Why or why not? How do filmmakers' opinions and perceptions shape even "nonfiction" films?

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