Parents' Guide to

Heart of Champions

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Choppy rowing drama has lessons in leadership; drinking.

Movie PG-13 2021 119 minutes
Heart of Champions Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Very inspiring performance by Michael Shannon as the coach in a good sports movie

1. First off - Michael Shannon's performance is inspiring and moving. As a military veteran, I was moved to tears at one point. 2. There are multiple instances of cursing, but only one "F" bomb muttered in passing early in the film. The rest is more mild, with numerous occasions where "sh--t" is used to establish a locker room atmosphere. Otherwise the cursing is less intense than what many teenagers might hear daily in the schoolyard or on the internet. 3. There is a very brief moment of a male character's bare backside during an outdoor streaking scene. 4. Three scenes portray heavy drinking that happens among college students, but the film also shows increasingly negative consequences of heavy drinking. In this way, the movie stands out as better than many others in showing the negative aspects of heavy alcohol consumption. Overall - I think the movies is a positive and inspiring sports drama, and appropriate for teenagers 13+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Considering that learning to work together seamlessly is its subject, it's ironic that this rowing drama sinks because it feels disjointed. The story is solid and the path, if unpredictable, offers meaningful, visceral lessons in leadership and teamwork. But the writing is subpar. At one point, it verges on insulting: Nisha, the romantic interest for two of the crew members, is given no more depth or personality than being a pretty face. And, defying all logic, when she receives an apology from her ex after months of harassment, she proceeds to sets him up with her best friend, who seems delighted and promptly sleeps with him. (Ah, men writing women.)

Other than the great Shannon (who blinks with magnitude), the acting is uneven: Alexander Ludwig overdoes it as a high energy, sarcastic jerk, and Melton's brooding reduces a multifacted character down to one note. The camerawork lacks cohesiveness: Scenes with Shannon are excellent, but those of just the crew don't match, as if a second unit handled filming with inconsistent direction. The strong, clear lessons in teamwork and leadership buoy this sports drama a bit, but, in failing to take its own advice, the whole endeavor ultimately capsizes.

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