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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Full Out is an entertaining and uplifting account of real-life competitive gymnast Ariana Berlin, who came back from a debilitating, seemingly career-ending car accident to compete for UCLA's legendary women's gymnastics team. In her recovery she works with a group of hip-hop dancers to help them refine their techniques, and in turn they teach her how to get back to her life. For those who suffer great setbacks, especially young people, this will be an inspiring demonstration of how much is possible if you commit to the pain and hard work that achievement requires.
- Parents say
- Kids say
It has a great plot, and Ariana is amazing
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What's the story?
FULL OUT is based on the true story of high schooler and competitive gymnast Ariana Berlin (Ana Golji of TV's Degrassi), who suffered two broken legs, broken ribs, a broken wrist, and punctured lungs, as well as a collar bone injury, in a major car accident and was told by doctors that gymnastics would probably be off the table for her even after recovery. Grueling rehab, depression, and continuing pain didn't stop her from trying. In the film, her supportive physical therapist Michelle (Asha Bromfield) is a hip-hop dancer in her spare time, and to lift Ariana's spirits and give her a sense of purpose, she invites the gymnast to help her dance group improve their techniques. Strong bonds form. Ariana's best friend, Isla (Sarah Fisher), is accepted onto the famed UCLA women's gymnastics team and also makes the Olympic team, two of Ariana's personal goals, which causes a rift between them. Will Ariana have the strength to keep working hard to reach her goals?
Is it any good?
Originally a Lifetime film, this follows the worn path of other movies about athletes overcoming debilitating obstacles, but, like many such offerings, it's surprisingly fun to watch. Ana Golja is a pert and engaging dancer, and her performances with a great troupe of hip-hop dancers are nicely choreographed and pleasing. In a lovely touch, the filmmakers of Full Out enlisted Berlin to play herself, doubling for Golja in all the gymnastics routines. It's also fun to see outtakes of scenes in which the actual UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field (played by the far-too-tall Jennifer Beals) is a judge, and three Olympic medalists make cameos. "Tall" and "gymnast" don't usually go together, so gymnasts watching will probably find such casual casting puzzling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to overcome setbacks. What are some character strengths Ariana displayed in her return to gymnastics after her accident?
Full Out suggests that going outside your discipline to learn from others can help enrich your expertise in your own area. How do you think injection of hip-hop dance elements changed Ariana's gymnastics performances?
What did you think of the UCLA coach? Did she seem harsh? Did she also seem supportive? What are the best ways coaches can motivate their athletes to perform at the highest level?
- In theaters: September 11, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: July 1, 2016
- Cast: Ana Golja, Jennifer Beals, Sarah Fisher, Lamar Johnson, Robbie Graham-Kuntz
- Director: Sean Cisterna
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Character strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: March 31, 2020
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