A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of second chances, mentorship, finding your family late in life, and passing the baton.
Positive Role Models
Jockeys possess grit and tenacity and demonstrate perseverance. Jackson is surprised by information that doesn't make sense to him, but he demonstrates maturity and responsibility in his actions in how he treats a person who's vulnerable. Ruth is a caring friend and a firm but thoughtful boss.
The two male lead jockeys are Latino; a horse trainer is female. All of the main characters are in counter-stereotypical careers for their race and/or gender. Real jockeys fill out the supporting/background cast.
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Violence & Scariness
References to the many injuries jockeys receive on the job. A grainy TV screen shows a man falling off a horse, but it's difficult to see.
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Strong language includes "a--hole," "dammit," "s--t," and several uses of "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character rolls a joint. Heavy drinking and partying with shots, straight alcohol, and lots of beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jockey is an authentic look at the behind-the-scenes life at a racetrack, shown through the eyes of those who ride and train the horses. The plot centers on an aging jockey (Clifton Collins Jr.) who's grappling with the end of his career while learning he may have a grown son. While there's no violence, many references are made to how dangerous horse racing can be, including real-life jockeys talking about broken backs, cracked collarbones, and shattered pelvises. Characters drink and smoke throughout, and there's a moment where the point is made that drinking beer with a straw is a quicker route to getting drunk. The jockeys are a diverse group (Latino actors play the two male leads), and many characters are in counter-stereotypical careers for their race and/or gender. Strong language includes multiple uses of "s--t and "f--k." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Richly authentic, drenched in sunsets and sweat, this drama shows the beauty in following your passion, even if it's full of horse manure and pain. Entertainment often depicts horse racing as a rich person's sport, focusing on wealthy horse owners. But writer-director Clint Bentley, the son of a jockey, flips the camera to show life behind the barn. Despite their fancy silk racing gear, jockeys generally aren't paid particularly well for putting their bodies at risk, especially at a less prestigious track like Phoenix's Turf Paradise. None of the characters is complaining about the money or the bodily harm, though -- this is a sport they love, and the riders would probably do it for free. Crafting a scene in which Jackson and his rider colleagues drink coffee and compare notes, Bentley uses real jockeys to share their own experiences of broken bones and the other horrible injuries that are an expected part of doing the job. It's an eye-opening lesson about grit.
Bentley spectacularly turns low-budget lemons into lemonade. Shot mostly as the day's light softens, Jockey often shows Jackson basking in pinky sundown hues, metaphorically messaging the idea that the jockey is in the twilight of his career, a formerly bright star who's now sunsetting. Instead of staging an actual race, Bentley chooses to put the camera close on Jackson's face while he competes, ultimately providing a much more impactful and intimate perspective. And using real-life riders as actors (including first-time actor Logan Cormier, who wows as Jackson's best buddy, Leo) creates a camaraderie that would be impossible to craft as convincingly. The storytelling here requires patience and maturity: This isn't Gabriel's story, it's Jackson's. Awakening to your body's growing limitations and your dreams being extinguished may not connect with younger viewers. But for adults, there's a loveliness in seeing that when life slows to a trot, there can be joy in switching to a slower lane.
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.