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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Go Figure is a tween comedy-drama about a 14-year-old girl who dreams of becoming the best figure skater in the world. She starts off very self-centered and arrogant, putting skating and her personal success above everyone around her. But she gradually comes to understand the importance of family and friendship. Bullying is rife among the skaters and a strong onus is placed on looks and presentation. There is some stereotyping: The figure skating girls are presented as attractive and elegant, while the girls on the hockey team are large and inelegant with "unconditioned hair." The central character, Katelin Kingsford (Jordan Hinson), thinks she "needs a Russian" in order to get the best training, and her Russian coach -- who refers to her as "Sputnik," -- is a walking stereotype with a strong accent and a cold and strict demeanor. Katelin is bullied verbally on a number of occasions, has tricks played on her, and is pushed over during hockey games. The overall message is one of perseverance and understanding that life is richer with other people in it.
What's the story?
In GO FIGURE, 14-year-old figure skater Katelin Kingsford (Jordan Hinson) is invited to attend an elite school where she can learn from top Russian trainer Natasha Goberman (Cristine Rose). When her parents are unable to pay the high fees, Natasha makes a deal to get her a scholarship -- the only problem is, it means Katelin playing for the school's ice hockey team. Attempting to fit her figure skating training and school work in around her ice hockey duties, and struggling to fit in to the new environment, both on and off the ice, Katelin is on the verge of running back home and giving it all up. Just as she begins to make friends and settle in, she's thrown into a spin when the figure skating championships that will decide the Olympic team clash with the ice hockey finals. Will she follow her dream or honor her commitment to her new friends and teammates?
Is it any good?
Very typical of a Disney TV movie, this one has a strong message but a fairly predictable plot. As her mother says, "You're going to learn there's much more to life than figure skating," and Katelin does. The acting in Go Figure is a little hit and miss and the script lacking much originality or nuance, but younger viewers will enjoy the energy and sparkle Hinson attempts to bring to the table. Reminiscent of a young Reese Witherspoon, she channels Legally Blonde vibes with her girly pink outfits, cute hairstyles, and sparkly makeup. Like Witherspoon's Elle Woods, she is a fish out of water, initially overlooked by both the coaches and the other players on the hockey team, but she gradually proves herself indispensable.
The skating scenes are well filmed and the behind-the-scenes locker room environment is realistically competitive and cliquey. Some of the stereotypes and the lack of diversity in the cast make it feel dated and somewhat lacking in self-awareness, but what it misses in intricacy it makes up for with a great pop soundtrack and an uplifting finale. Parents and younger viewers looking for a simple movie with some fun moments and a teachable story will love this innocent tale that will thaw the iciest of hearts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Katelin's character changes during Go Figure. Perseverance and teamwork are two character traits Katelin learns. Why are these such important traits to have? Can you think of any real-life examples when you've demonstrated perseverance and teamwork?
How are figure skating and ice hockey presented in the movie? What are the differences between them? Did they feel stereotyped to you? Why can stereotypes be problematic?
Katelin is forced to make a big decision at the end of the movie. Do you think she did the right thing? What decision would you have made?
How does Katelin's relationship with her family -- her mother, father, and brother – change during the movie? Discuss the importance of family and of communicating with them.
- On DVD or streaming: June 10, 2005
- Cast: Jordan Hinson, Whitney Sloan, Cristine Rose
- Director: Francine McDougall
- Studio: Walt Disney Television
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 29, 2020
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