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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ice Girls is a feel-good movie about competitive girls' figure skating, focusing on good sportsmanship, perseverance in the face of injury, and encouraging versus demoralizing parenting styles. A single mom struggles to raise her two girls when her finances crumble. She's too proud to accept help until generous family and friends reach out with financial and moral support. "Crap" is mentioned. Adults drink wine. Thugs try to shake down a teenager whose dad owes them money. A skater misses a jump and slams into a wall, sustaining an injury that keeps her off the ice for months. A skater's bruised feet are shown. A doctor prepares to inject Botox into a woman's face. That woman later suggests that her figure skater daughter have some, too, to give her face a more relaxed and judge-pleasing look while competing.
What's the story?
Mattie (competitive figure skater Michaela du Toit) is a talented teen figure skater who suffers the multiple challenges of getting injured during an important competition, losing the chance for a "full ride" scholarship and having to move because of her single mom's financial difficulties. ICE GIRLS makes it clear that figure skating is a sport for tough, competitive kids, but also for kids whose parents can afford to buy them lessons, skates, ice time, costumes, and medical care when necessary. When forced to move from Toronto back to the hometown of Mattie's mom, Kelly (Lara Daans), Mattie meets Mercury (Elvis Stojko, three-time world champion skater and two-time Olympic silver medalist), owner of the local rink and skating coach to Heather (Taylor Hunsley). Heather is a good skater whose mother, Rose (Natasha Henstridge) once pined for the man who eventually married (and divorced) Kelly and fathered Mattie. Mattie and Heather become friends, but Rose, who constantly criticizes Heather, undermines the relationship so severely that Heather tries to sabotage Mattie before they meet in an important competition. Mattie, who has worked hard to rehab her knee with Mercury's generous help, now shows what a decent person she is as she forgives Heather and supports her in a difficult moment.
Is it any good?
This movie seems to be a labor of love, successfully depicting the grit and behind-the-scenes determination young skaters must bring to the ice day after day, year after year. Director Damian Lee cowrote the script for Ice Girls with his wife, Lara Daans (Kelly), who was a competitive skater before she turned to acting. Scenes of Hunsley and du Toit executing spectacular moves on the ice are well photographed and the story, though sometimes formulaic, is told with professional precision. Young skating fans will find lots to enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of supportive parents in a child's development. What do you think happens to a teen whose mother constantly tells her she's gaining weight? Are the parents in Ice Girls supportive?
Parents who press children to do their best can go too far if they become too wrapped up in the child's success. What do you think that kind of pressure could do to a child?
What does it take to be a successful figure skater, aside from physical talent?
- On DVD or streaming: October 4, 2016
- Cast: Lara Daans, Michala du Toit, Taylor Hunsley, Natasha Henstridge, Elvis Stojko
- Director: Damian Lee
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Genre: Drama
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for mild thematic elements and brief language
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