How She Move

  • Review Date: April 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Urban dance drama is formulaic yet entertaining.
  • Review Date: April 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Raya misleads her parents about how she's spending her free time. Boys wager on a dance match, a crew leader hints at drug dealing, and there are a few fights, but otherwise the story is redemptive and the characters are good-hearted; Raya is also academically ambitious and takes her studies really seriously. Some characters assume that girls can't step as well as the guys can and are reluctant to let Raya into the guys' crew.

Violence

Mild fight involving some shoving and yelling. Violence hinted at when two rival "crews" face off. A criminal is shown being arrested by cops.

Sex

Some "bumping and grinding" on the dance floor, and one lingering kiss. Song lyrics played during the step competitions allude to sex. Some scantily/suggestively clad women. A woman is shown straddling a man who's not wearing his shirt; they're in bed, and it seems like the prelude to sex.

Language

A few uses of the word "bitch," and one "f--k."

Consumerism

Lots of mentions of the Step Monster, a dance competition.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A man is shown toking on a joint. Some discussions of heavier drug use, but nothing overt. The main character's sister died of an overdose (discussed, but not shown). The drug trade casts a shadow over Raya's neighborhood.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this film depicts a hard-knock inner-city life in Toronto, its redemptive, inspirational themes -- that no matter who you are, you can and should dare to dream -- apply to everyone. There are hints of trouble (crime, drug issues) in the neighborhood, but they're fairly subtle, and although the main character's sister dies of an overdose, it's not shown, and the only drug shown on screen is marijuana. Some angry words are exchanged, but this is the type of film where characters settle their differences in "step offs" rather than with violence. There's some language, but -- other than one use of "f--k" -- it's not excessive.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

With her sister dead of an overdose and her parents' savings depleted after trying to stop things from going that far, Raya (Rutina Wesley) must withdraw from her tony private school and return to her old Toronto neighborhood, a gritty place where drugs and drama overwhelm dreams. Both for herself and her parents, Raya wants back out asap. Her only hope is an all-important scholarship exam. But after the test, Raya's convinced she didn't make the cut. So she finds another way to achieve her dreams: step dance. The $50,000 prize at a showcase called Step Monster might be her ticket out, but first she has to convince a competitive all-male crew that she deserves a place on their team. And even when she does, she still has to decide for herself what matters most -- winning, or staying true to herself.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

HOW SHE MOVE is agreeable but predictable. Wesley and co-star Dwain Murphy (who plays Raya's step/love interest Bishop) make an admirable effort to rise above the formulaic script, which throws in a resistant friend/classmate for Raya (the able Tre Armstrong), the shady but two-dimensional villain who stoked Raya's sister's drug habit and happens to head a rival step crew (Clé Bennett), and a monumental grudge match. We've seen these characters and plot points before in such fare as Stomp the Yard and Save the Last Dance, and they're none the fresher here.

Nevertheless, what makes a dance movie satisfying is the ability to capture the jubilation of dance itself -- and that How She Move does. Every time steppers take the stage, the audience is transported to a world where nothing but rhythm, movement, and beat matter. There are no major stars in the film, but the cast members more than rise to the occasion. And boy, can they dance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of dance movies. Why do so many portray dance as a way of getting in touch with your true identity? What is it about dance that taps into someone's sense of self? Families can also discuss Raya's situation. What fueled her decisions? If you were in her shoes, would you have made the same choices (and mistakes)? Why does she feel so much pressure to achieve? How is she similar to and different from characters in other urban, dance-themed movies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 25, 2008
DVD release date:April 28, 2008
Cast:Dwain Murphy, Rutina Wesley, Tre Armstrong
Director:Ian Iqbal Rashid
Studio:MTV Films
Genre:Drama
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some drug content, suggestive material and language.

This review of How She Move was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykmattson April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

daddy long legs 12 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this movie is awesome you have to go see it theres noting bad in it!!!!!!!!!!
Adult Written bynayyaraf April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools