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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Great leaders are people who know how to effectively access empathy and compassion to help them communicate with their team. Great leaders are also humble enough to take direction and learn new lessons. Teamwork is only successful if team members feel strongly connected to one other, express empathy and compassion for one another, and are pushed to persevere through challenges.
Positive Role Models
Eric, who is White, demonstrates strong leadership by recognizing importance of connecting and empathizing with Latino teammates. He's smart and humble enough to listen to others, take their advice (including meaningful constructive criticism), and become a better team captain without acting in a way that suggests he knows better than someone else. He reaches out to more of the team, including Domingo, who's facing personal challenges. Eric, co-captain Saul, and other teammates come together to help Domingo. Through examples that Eric, Coach Riviera, and other teammates set, the team is able to come together for an emotionally resonant soccer season. The team shows perseverance, despite facing tough moments. Domingo demonstrates perseverance by helping his mother while attending extra classes to graduate on time.
Frank about racial, cultural, class divides in a small Oregon town, the film prominently features diverse Latino community/neighborhoods, looking at parts that class and race play in narratives that exist about the town's Latino and White citizens. Domingo's story in particular shines a light on American immigration system, how it often indiscriminately punishes good people trying to live the American dream. The high school's diversity outside of its Latino students is also showcased, but less so: Black and Asian students, one Black soccer player, but they're more like secondary or tertiary characters. Focus is on Domingo and Eric. Eric, who is White, starts out believing that all it takes to be a good player is hard work and dedication, but he doesn't take into account his Latino teammates' complex backgrounds. He grows into a well-rounded person by the end, showing that he respects meaningful critique, is receptive to hearing what his teammates need him to understand.
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Violence & Scariness
Some personal conflict/stress.
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Language includes "s--t," "f--k," "f--king," "damn," "hell," "goddamn." Phrases like "stupid as hell" and "f--k yeah." Exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ."
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Products & Purchases
Patagonia and Chevron brands are shown in the film.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hood River is a powerful documentary about a high school soccer team in a small Oregon town. As they strive for a championship season, they must also grapple with their town's racial and class divides. Expect salty language ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and some intense situations and moments. But overall this story features excellent messages and role models for teens, with clear themes of leadership, compassion, empathy, perseverance, humility, and teamwork. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This heartfelt documentary shows why sports stories, particularly high school sports stories, are always fountains of life lessons for viewers of all ages. In Steven Cantor and Jonathan Field's documentary, which was filmed during the Eagles' 2018 season, viewers don't just learn the fundamentals of the game, they also learn how to apply the tenets of teamwork, perseverance, and communication to solve bigger issues. The film's core revolves around how this small Oregon town deals with a society that's divided by both race and class. For a while, those divides extend to the soccer field. Team co-captain Eric realizes something that not even a lot of adults realize: It takes empathy to be an effective leader of a diverse team. Eric might be a high school senior, but he shows a willingness to learn and grow into a more conscientious global citizen. This includes taking advice from some of his Latino teammates (Eric himself is White) and from his Latino co-captain, Saul, on how to reach the rest of the team, particularly Domingo, a talented player who's suffering after his dad's deportation. Together, Eric and his teammates rally around Domingo and provide him with new gear as well as a renewed commitment to friendship and camaraderie.
And that isn't the only time that the teens display maturity beyond their years. Their coach, Coach Riviera, has a large hand in helping them learn about responsibility and guiding them through school. Riviera takes Domingo in particular under his wing, helping the teen with his homework to keep him on track to graduate. But, really, the kids come into their emotional growth on their own, showing just how mature, open-minded, and accepting younger generations are becoming. Many underestimate Generation Z, but Hood River proves that if these kids can learn how to get along with each other and set an example for others, then perhaps adults are the ones who need to grow up.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.