A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The documentary presents entrepreneurship as an alternative to dropping out of school and other risky behavior. Although some of the teens are motivated by greed, overall the movie has positive messages about working hard, reaching for goals, and empowering yourself to overcome obstacles and be successful. The film also acts as an advocate for educators.
Positive Role Models
The teens aren’t perfect, but their work and commitment to their businesses make them positive role models for other teens. Various races, religions, and ethnicities are represented.
Violence & Scariness
The contestants briefly talk about the violent neighborhoods they lived in and the number of friends and family who died as a result. The documentary asserts that a large number of high school dropouts end up dead at a young age. Men are shown being incarcerated. One contestant discusses being sexually molested by a family member.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some contestants discuss teen sex, pregnancy, and birth control. One talks about becoming a teen father. Condoms are briefly visible.
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Products & Purchases
The logos of corporate sponsors -- including AOL and Chase Bank -- appear. The judges are CEOs of major corporations like Nantucket Nectars, Oppenheimer Funds, and Home Depot. The film acts as a promotional vehicle for the NFTE Business Education Program.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many of the contestants are attempting to stay away from drugs while coping with the addictions of their parents and/or other family members. Drug dealing is discussed as a negative activity.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary about inner-city teens participating in a national business plan competition offers lots of positive messages about staying in school, working hard, setting goals, and reaching for dreams. It also introduces business entrepreneurship as an alternative to violence, criminal activity, and/or drug abuse. The young contestants’ personal stories deal with violence, addiction, molestation, and absentee parents, but all of these tough topics are addressed within the context of positive narratives about overcoming obstacles. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This inspiring documentary showcases the successful NFTE program, which was developed as a dropout prevention program almost 20 years ago. It seems to have accomplished its goals: The movie highlights some of the difficult situations the contestants have overcome by participating in business education activities. And it also emphasizes the fact that most of the teens' current and future success is owed to staying in school.
But it's the teens’ personal journeys and insights -- which come as a result of their private struggles and professional endeavors -- that are the main source of inspiration here. They offer positive messages about working hard, setting goals, and persevering in the face of challenges. The group also demonstrates how it's possible to overcome tough situations by getting an education. Best of all, the featured teens serve as positive role models for others across the country.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.