Miss You Can Do It

  • Review Date: June 24, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Heartwarming docu digs into a pageant for disabled girls.
  • Review Date: June 24, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages are everywhere in this heartwarming doc, from the can-do spirit of Abbey Curran to the beauty of watching girls with challenges just being silly with their friends. Perhaps the most smile-inducing messages come from the parents of these girls, who are matter-of-fact about their daughters' disabilities -- and about how much they are loved.

Positive role models

The audience will meet many determined young women whose disabled bodies don't imprison their mind or spirit. Curran herself is a role model for both people with disabilities and those without.

Violence

Viewers see girls falling on the ground, their limbs twisting, and hear about some of the girls' limited life expectancy.

Sex

No sex or flirting, but the audience does see women in bikinis strutting across a stage and there is incessant (complimentary) talk about the physical appearance of pageant contestants.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The Miss You Can Do It pageant is prominently spotlighted.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Miss You Can Do It is a gentle and heartwarming documentary about a pageant for girls with physical disabilities. There's no cursing, sex, dating, drinking, or drugs. However, watching young women struggle terribly to walk or talk may be upsetting to young or sensitive viewers; listening to parents talk frankly about their daughters' chances for long-term survival and future independence may prove equally upsetting. Some girls are not expected to survive to adulthood, and their parents say as much. Parents may also consider whether they think pageants, which spotlight the physical appearance of its contestants, to be something they want children to watch or revere.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

Abbey Curran made headlines in 2008 when she competed in the Miss USA pageant as Miss Iowa, the first contestant ever to have a visible physical disability (cerebral palsy). The experience of competing so thrilled Curran that she wanted to share pageantry with other girls with disabilities. The result is MISS YOU CAN DO IT, a pageant she began in 2004, and the documentary of the same name celebrating Curran and one year's contestants. These contestants range from Teyanna, a preteen with cerebral palsy and a love of art, to 5-year-old Tierney, a firecracker in a wheelchair facing slow progression of her muscular disorder, and likely an early death. We meet them at home, talk to their parents, watch the therapy sessions and isolation each endures. Then these girls and others come together in Curran's Iowa hometown to meet each other, impress pageant judges and walk (or roll) across a spangly stage dressed in their best, with hopes of taking home a crown.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

You'd have to be made of stone not to dissolve into tears when Teyanna's mom talks about how nurses advised her to put her infant daughter in an institution, because she was never going to be able to walk or to talk. Raised at home by a loving family instead, Teyanna does both. Ali fights her spina bifida with therapeutic horseback riding; Tierney wants to take home the big trophy at the pageant, but what she'd like most is a friend.

Meeting these girls and their parents is the best part of Miss You Can Do It. But for viewers weaned on pageant shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, it's hard to forget that this entire documentary is celebrating a beauty pageant. Sure, these beautiful girls use wheelchairs and walkers, or struggle to speak. But the focus is still on their physical appearance, which some viewers may not appreciate. The point Curran is trying to make is that even disabled girls are beautiful. Laudable, but aren't we hoping to impart to girls that what's inside is more important than what they look like? It'd be easier to celebrate a documentary that focuses on something other than a beauty contest. Miss You Can Do It is heartwarming and sweet, but viewers may feel conflicted watching, even as they fall in love with each and every determined, sweet and beautiful girl they see onscreen.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about physical disabilities and how they occur. Disabilities are usually caused either by a birth injury or a genetic anomaly. How common are disabilities? Do you know anyone with a disability?

  • Watch another pageant-oriented show, such as Toddlers & Tiaras. How is Miss You Can Do It alike? How is it different?

  • Pageants celebrate the physical appearance of its contestants. Is this something admirable? Does your answer change if you consider that the Miss You Can Do It pageant displays people whose appearance is not often commended?

Movie details

DVD release date:December 17, 2013
Cast:Abbey Curran
Director:Ron Davis
Studio:HBO
Genre:Documentary
Topics:Great girl role models
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Miss You Can Do It was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byMamaMak1010 January 5, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Excellent Documentary! 10 out of 10

I think every family should watch this film! My 4 kids 9 and under watched it and learned a great deal of humanity from it! Two thumbs up!
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written byChiefBrickman May 31, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

A Beautiful Cry

I'm a 63 year old, single, retired Navy Chief Petty Officer who lives alone in San Antonio, Texas. I stumbled on this documentary while channel surfing last night and decided to record it to watch later. I watched it tonight and was in tears from beginning to end. It was one of the most poignant and moving experiences I've had watching a documentary. I've seen about a minute of both Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo and thought both were in incredibly poor taste and offensive. However, I thought this was a look behind the curtain into the lives of young disabled girls that I had never even thought about for one second of my life. The strength and warmth of both the parents and contestants was riveting and powerful throughout the documentary. It made me wish I had rich people's money for just one day so I could send it all to Abbey Curran for her future endeavors in continuing the Miss You Can Do It pageant year after year. I think the previous review missed the whole point; this wasn't, at least to me, about the contestants' outward physical appearance or beauty. It was about the character and the resolve of both the parents and the young girls to live as close to a normal life as they possibly could. That was the entire message in a nutshell. Every one of them just wanted to be accepted and liked for who they were as a person and not just seen through the prism of their disabilities. It touched me deeply and profoundly because, quite frankly, I had never given disabled children much thought because I have no children disabled or otherwise. I have become disabled in my old age with coronary heart disease and a triple bypass and I have begun to see life in general through a different set of eyes and values. I hope Abbey continues her beautiful mission in life to show the world that disabled children are not, and should never, be seen as invisible i.e. "out of sight, out of mind."
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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