Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Stirring, inspiring sports docu about overcoming adversity.

Movie NR 2020 88 minutes
Runner Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Outstanding man, athlete, New American

You will certainly be able to sit together and appreciate the story of this man, his childhood, and life in America. Runner will keep you all so interested in what will happen next, Guor's story, his feelings, and those who knew/know him. Have tissues available.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

Guor Marial is a human metaphor for getting through life's hardships by putting one foot in front of the other. His story of courage and endurance is one every person should know. Inspirational figures don't come in more impressive packaging: He's a living example of what bravery, persistence, humility, and self-control look like. Director Bill Gallagher followed Marial for seven years and, with Runner, has put together a portrait that's gracefully understated, even though it could easily have been heart-rippingly rage inducing. The gentler tone makes the film less explosive but likely easier to digest for some, allowing viewers to come to their own realizations instead of being told how to think or feel. But no matter how politely they're put, you'll be shocked at the horrors Marial had to endure. You'll also cry with joy at his victories.

The movie's war images and stories aren't recommended for younger kids, but this compassionate bio-doc is a really powerful story for older tweens and teens. Since Marial's ordeal began when he was just 8 and carried through his high school years, kids will be able to put themselves in his shoes. Gallagher creates empathy and understanding for a horrific situation. There's also an anti-bullying undercurrent embedded in the film. Marial was an African teen who didn't speak English and was pretty abruptly dropped into a mostly White suburban U.S. school. Through interviews, it's suggested that thankfully he wasn't bullied or ostracized but rather was welcomed and treated with respect -- and it's clear the entire school was the better for it. A minor quibble? While Gallagher does a great job telling Marial's story, including collecting a substantial number of news and video clips, the story's timeline is confusing, and some information can seem contradictory. Ultimately, though, the entire film is full of life lessons, including that sometimes participation is success, and living to see another day is victory.

Movie Details

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