A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Highlights the history and importance of the Paralympic Games, promotes inclusion and perseverance, particularly for people with disabilities, and how the Paralympic Games are intended to counter stereotypes of people with disabilities.
Positive Role Models
Features extensive interviews with several athletes who have competed in the Paralympic Games. In addition to discussing their disabilities, they talk of their goals, dreams, and determination to win, as well as the challenges and prejudice they've encountered on the way.
Violence & Scariness
Archival news footage of dead bodies, kids getting beaten during the Burundi civil war. Paralympic athlete talks of how he lost his leg due to four machete blows from soldiers during the war, and how he was forced to watch as his mother was murdered.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A talk show host asks one of the athletes, in two innuendo-filled questions, if he ever had sex with other athletes at the Paralympic Games.
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Infrequent strong profanity. "F--k off" and "f--king hell." "S--t."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rising Phoenix is a relevant, inspiring documentary about how growing worldwide interest in the Paralympic Games helps counter stereotypes and prejudice. The athletes with disabilities who are interviewed emerge as strong role models who are defined by their drive, perseverance, and competitive spirit rather than their disabilities. The movie explains how the Games' original intent was to show the world the humanity of people with disabilities at a time when many people weren't open-minded enough to think of them as capable human beings, let alone competitive athletes. Expect some profanity, including "f--k." And in archival talk show footage, a talk show host asks a champion Paralympic athlete about sex during the Games. There's violent archival news footage of the Burundi civil war of the 1990s, as well as one of the athletes discussing how, as a very young boy, his leg was hacked off by soldiers and he was forced to watch his mother's murder. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It almost goes without saying that this is an inspiring documentary about the Paralympic Games and those who created, organized, and competed in it. Of course it's inspiring, but what's really special about Rising Phoenix is how seamlessly the documentary reveals the importance and necessity of the Paralympic Games, not only for the individual athletes, but also for the world. At a time when, according to the documentary, hate crimes against people with disabilities are at an all-time high, the Paralympic Games present to the entire planet the boundless capabilities, drive, and humanity of people with disabilities, and the athletes profiled are a testament to this.
As Rising Phoenix weaves the Paralympic Games' past and present, highlighting the ups and downs since its inception in 1948, the documentary also shows how, in spite of becoming the third largest sporting event in the world, the Games and the athletes still face dismissive treatment. This is evidenced by what transpired during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where financial and bureaucratic mismanagement nearly prevented the Paralympic Games from happening. And yet, this unforgivable behavior also serves to reveal the undaunted spirit of the Games, as organizers fought tirelessly to make sure the Paralympic Games happened and were effectively funded and promoted, and as the Brazilian people, despite the lack of promotion, began to fill the stadiums and arenas to enthusiastically support it.
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