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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rock My Heart is a German film with English subtitles that brings together a beautiful, wild stallion and a teen with a life-threatening heart defect. Set in the German countryside, the film is dramatic, romantic, and affecting. The heroine's fragile condition means there's underlying jeopardy that sustains mild suspense throughout the movie. Viewers can expect some scary and sad moments. The horse rears, throws his rider more than once, and briefly is subjected to a beating. (Spoiler alert: A featured character dies.) An occasional curse word appears in subtitles: "damn," "s--t," "ass," and one use of "f--k." Wine is consumed in one scene, and reference is made to past teen alcohol issues. Prescription drugs and an inhalant are a part of the heroine's medically ordered regimen. There are some romantic kisses.
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What's the story?
Jana Hilbig (Lena Klenke) is 17 and struggling to adjust to a lifelong heart defect in ROCK MY HEART. She's rebellious and angry and purposefully risks her life by testing her limits. Barely conscious after a self-induced accident, Jana sees a vision of a horse coming to her side. When she has recovered, Jana finds that horse again, living in a nearby training facility on a farm. Paul Brenner (Dieter Hallervorden), the trainer/owner, is also existing on "borrowed" time; a hefty bank loan is due and he's about to lose everything. Paul's only hope is a stallion named Rock My Heart, who can run like lightning but remains wild and untrainable. If only Paul could find a way to prep "Rock" for an upcoming horse race that could rescue them both. Enter Jana. Against all odds, and jeopardizing her fragile health, the teen finds new purpose, which just may save them all.
Is it any good?
This familiar tale is far better than it might have been because of solid performances, capable direction, and lovely visuals of rural Germany, not to mention the magnificent horse. The filmmakers ask that viewers abandon any knowledge they may have about professional horseracing with its rigid rules and simply get carried away by the characters and their touching stories. It's unfortunate that the filmmakers saw the need to include swearing, including one subtitled "f--k," in a movie that otherwise would be appropriate for younger tweens. Another curious but not unsatisfactory choice is the inclusion of American songs as source music. Better than many live-action horse stories streaming and available on DVD, Rock My Heart is enjoyable and heartfelt.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of seeing movies about people from other countries. What, if anything, did you know and what was your attitude about Germany before you watched Rock My Heart? Did the movie change any preconceived notions about the country? What commonalities did you see between teens in Germany and those in your world? What differences?
What do you think makes horse stories so appealing to young audiences? What attributes do you think make the animal so captivating? What are some of your favorite horse movies, and why?
What other animals are portrayed in films that reflect the bond between humans and nature? Why is that bond an important element in our development as occupiers of our planet?
- On DVD or streaming: June 7, 2019
- Cast: Lena Klenko, Dieter Hallervorden, Emilio Sakraya
- Director: Hanna Olderdissen
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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