SHReD: The Story of Asher Bradshaw

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
SHReD: The Story of Asher Bradshaw Movie Poster Image
Riveting docu about young skateboarder has strong language.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 97 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Illustrates the value of hard work, commitment, and single-mindedness even for those with extraordinary natural abilities and talents. Raises the question of how a parent's good intentions and personal needs may affect a child, both for good and bad. Provides a vivid look at what moving out of the world of poverty requires from those who live there.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Asher Bradshaw is a heroic little boy who is strong, smart, and aware of his responsibilities and who outwardly thrives in a high-pressure environment. Asher's dad, Tom, also is strong and smart, plus he's driven to make a better life for his family and get them out of poverty, whatever the costs. Audiences will judge for themselves whether or not Tom's relentless parenting/coaching choices are in Asher's best interests. Maribel Bradshaw, Asher's mom, is a loving mother of four but passive, allowing Tom to set the tone for their lives and make important decisions. Ethnic diversity.

Violence

Some tumbles and falls in skateboarding arenas.

Sex

A brief flash of beach-side girls in skimpy bathing suits.

Language

A sprinkling of cursing and obscenities: "piss off," "f--k," "s--t," "puss out," "piece of crap." A boy announces a fart, then farts.

Consumerism

Element skateboards, Vans shoes. Numerous incidental sporting goods visuals on banners, T-shirts, equipment.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Reference to alcoholic parent; mention of pot smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SHReD: The Asher Bradshaw Story is a very personal documentary sharing the rewards and challenges experienced by young skateboarder Asher Bradshaw, an enormously athletic child. Asher's story, starting at age 6, is told by director Kathy Herndl, who keeps her commentary to a minimum, letting the viewer come to his or her own conclusions. It's more than a sports story about a young prodigy. Given equal time, if not more, is Tom Bradshaw, Asher's dad, a complex man -- smart, loving, driven, emotionally damaged by his past, and relentless in his aspirations for his son as a means of getting his family out of a Los Angeles ghetto. Asher himself is an inspiration, showing heart, empathy, and tremendous grace under pressure and who is keenly aware of what is being asked of him. A few obscenities and curse words appear ("f--k," "p---y," "s--t," "crap," "piss off"); a child farts. Because the movie has a highly charged emotional component and is not simply about exciting competition, skateboard maneuvers, and a little boy surpassing expectations, it's best for teens.

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What's the story?

Missing his two front teeth and with a smile that lights up everywhere, Asher Bradshaw is the star of SHReD: THE ASHER BRADSHAW STORY. At 6 years old, his skateboarding flips, drops, grabs, and grinds are astonishing. He's smart, brave, and fun-loving and already exhibits (or is strongly encouraged to exhibit) devotion to a rigorous athletic training regimen. Always at Asher's side, dad Tom Bradshaw is coach, chauffeur, teacher, and prime motivator. Tom, having experienced a harsh upbringing and major disappointment in own life, sees that his extraordinary son can change everything. It's clear that as Asher's competing escalates, so does his understanding that he's being given the responsibility for his family's well-being. Seven of them, living in a one-bedroom house in a crime-ridden neighborhood, are hoping that Asher shines enough to attract a sponsor for commercial endorsements. Director Kathy Herndl follows Asher and his family through the many challenges they face over more than a year, in sports and at home. With sponsorship so crucial, Asher and Tom endure disappointment and satisfaction, frustration and elation, good times and bad.

Is it any good?

Director Kathy Herndl has done an excellent job of conveying the heavy emotional content of this story along with the exhilarating skateboarding competitions and Asher's unique abilities. Her camera has captured Asher's winning qualities as well as the heft of his obligations. Watching such a little boy (strapped into a rear child-safety seat) listen to his dad's appeal for excellence is sometimes heartbreaking. But, on other occasions, Asher's joy and love of the sport, along with his grit and talent, keep his real uniqueness at the forefront of the story. Audiences will root for Asher and his family and most likely will still have questions about what it takes for Asher to have achieved what he has at a tender age.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about director Kathy Herndl's storytelling style. She uses lots of extreme close-up shots, particularly in the car. Do you think that device helps bring the viewer closer to the people in the story? What other techniques does Ms. Herndl use to make this a personal story about people, rather than about winning, losing, and achievement?

  • Given the final outcome of the movie, how do you feel about Asher Bradshaw's relationship with Tom as coach and dad? What is the meaning of the expression "the end justifies the means"? Do you think that's true in this story? Why, or why not?

  • Many famous skateboarders think that as Asher Bradshaw matures, he will become a major star in his sport. If you could see into the future, what do you think might happen to him and to his relationship with his dad?

  • Financing for documentary films such as this one is hard to find. SHReD was at least partially funded via the website Kickstarter. How do you think such crowdfunding sites will change moviemaking and other artistic enterprises?

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Movie details

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