By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Predictable but moving sports drama goes beyond wrestling.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film has messages about conquering your personal demons, forgiving others and yourself for the past, and pushing yourself beyond your anticipated limits.
Positive Role Models
Each character serves as a role model in a way, from the mother who learns to take responsibility for her failings and asks for forgiveness to the prodigal son who fights against his worst inclinations so he doesn’t let someone he cares about down. Still, the means to the uplifting end aren’t always considerate or unselfish; for example, a son lies outright to his mother, and a teen girl seeks attention by showing off her body.
Violence & Scariness
High-schoolers bully a classmate and toss a rock at him; he fights back with an insult that goads his nemesis into hitting him. A man gets into a bone-crunching fistfight at a bar, which lands him in jail; later, he’s attacked by the same guy and his goons, and he has to defend himself by hitting them back and throwing one through a glass door.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A 15-year-old girl shows off her breasts to a group of guys (her back faces the camera, but she makes a motion as if lifting the front of her shirt). A young couple kisses tenderly. A teen boy’s behind is displayed briefly at a wrestling weigh-in.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sparing use of words like “damn.”
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The film is co-produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which is notable since the film is about high school wrestling.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking at bars; one adult seems to like his alcohol a little too much and ends up giving up drinking after a fight.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this family/sports drama heads down some dark avenues (alcoholism, tragic deaths, rage) but does so armed with good intentions. It explores the depths of estrangement and the power of forgiveness, and it also examines the bonds of family, the importance of self-confidence, and the endless possibilities of redemption. There's a fleeting moment of non-sexual nudity (as well as kissing and an implied chest-flashing by a teen girl), some bullying and fighting, and drinking.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 4 parent reviews
A very good movie, especially for mid-teenage boys and their parents
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
Cal Chetley's (Devon Gaye) deceased father was a wrestling legend at his high school, and so was his estranged brother, Mike (WWE wrestler John Cena). But Cal's not. He's considered the brain, whose main interest beyond school has been, up until now, about making sure that his mini-catfish farm is doing well and that he's there for his best friend, Luli (Madeleine Martin). But a run-in with some bullies at the river and a new friendship with a mysterious hobbyist angler (Danny Glover) convince him to try out for the wrestling team -- that and his yearning to get to know his brother, with whom he has no contact. But Cal's mother, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), fears losing him to the sport, as well as the reasons underlying his decision to wrestle.
Is It Any Good?
The movie could have done without the grave, sonorous, public television-style narration that bookends it, and the heavy foreshadowing that practically gives away future plot twists. (That bit about a wrestling fake-out move introduced early on? You just know it'll show up again in some momentous way.) And the bookish, "beanpole" archetype who transforms himself into a winning sportsman with, of course, a big heart. That's all in the LEGENDARY stew.
Yet the film's insistent tugging at your heartstrings will achieve some of its desired effect. Maybe it's Gaye, who looks every bit the part of an earnest teen who doesn't quite know how to save the world -- or, in this case, his family -- but he'll try. Or Cena, who doesn't break any new ground, acting-wise, but manages, if only just, to inhabit someone else's skin for a bit. What's not up for argument is Clarkson's supreme talent. Sharon could have easily grown shrill and bitter, but in Clarkson's hands, she doesn't -- and even ultimately rises to the occasion in a spectacular fashion.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what the movie has in common with other sports dramas. How is it different (if at all)? Why do you think it explores the heavy subjects that it deals with?
Does the movie's mother-sons relationship seem realistic? Does the movie portray Sharon as a positive role model? What about her boys?
How does mastering a sport enhance a teenager's life? How does this movie portray the impact of sports on a person's life?
- In theaters: September 10, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: December 28, 2010
- Cast: Danny Glover, John Cena, Patricia Clarkson
- Director: Mel Damski
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: suggestive material, brief partial nudity and some fighting scenes
- Last updated: August 25, 2022
Inclusion information powered by
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.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Great Sports Movies
Kids' Sports Games
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate