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Parents' Guide to

Lessons of Basketball and War

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Well-meaning docu lacks depth but inspires empathy.

Movie NR 2015 56 minutes
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This documentary about a group of middle-school girls relocated from Somalia inspires empathy by introducing us to relatable young teens struggling to adapt in a new land. Lessons of Basketball and War allows us to get to know them as individuals and to start to understand their background and native culture. It leaves an unsettled feeling, though, as even Principal Bacon struggles with whether or not he'd call the program a success. And there's a little frustration in only seeing Mr. Bacon tell the girls over and over that they have to be nicer to each other without exploring any other ways he might have helped build team spirit.

The footage at the beginning of the situation in Somalia that the families were fleeing might be hard for younger kids to understand, and sensitive viewers of any age may need reassurance and to be encouraged to find ways they can help. Otherwise the content is fine for all ages, but it's most likely to appeal to middle schoolers who are going through lots of changes in their own lives and are becoming curious about the bigger world around them. Overall there are positive messages about finding better ways to get along, and the future looks bright for the girls, now young women, who've been through the program.

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