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Parents' Guide to

Life of a King

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Sentimental, formulaic tale of an inspiring chess teacher.

Movie PG-13 2014 101 minutes
Life of a King Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

My Review of Life of a King

I bought the DVD because all of the characters were well conceived and the actors were believable. I was uplifted by the purpose of this film and feel everyone should watch this story based on true events.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Despite an admirable performance by Gooding Jr., humanizing a complicated man who truly seems to have changed his life, this movie is nearly unbelievably predictable -- even if it is fact-based. The entire film seems like a mash-up of several other movies about educators and coaches who help a group of inner-city youth: Stand and Deliver, Pride, Dangerous Minds, Lean On Me, and so on -- but it's not quite as interesting or well acted or even inspiring.

There are no failings in the performances, and the real story is no doubt empowering and touching, but the fictional representation of Brown's chess club is frustratingly obvious, plot point by plot point. The drug-using, abused mom, for example, calls her son's interest in chess "dumb," but everyone knows she'll be there crying and cheering him on for the championship match. It's too bad the story wasn't told as a documentary, because it's the real tale that should be retold and reproduced in other inner-city environments.

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