Parents' Guide to

The Brooke Ellison Story

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Stirring tale of quadriplegic girl's fight has heavy themes.

Movie PG 2005 91 minutes
The Brooke Ellison Story Poster Image

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THE BROOKE ELLISON STORY is a remarkable tale. Directed by Christopher Reeve and released just after his death, it's an extraordinary example of how little disability can hinder you from accomplishing what you want in life, as well as the story of one mother's enormous self-sacrifice to ensure her child's success. But there's an even bigger message about a kind of disability we all carry -- our attitudes -- and the film addresses how much influence they have over the course of our lives.

That's a rich message that will carry through even for parents and kids who find this a tough watch. The story is a difficult one, but it's also a relentlessly positive one that opts for courage over despair. It can, at times, veer into the sentimental, but it does take the time to show some of the more realistic aspects of care for a loved one with a severe disability: the piling-up medical bills, the exhaustion, the disruption for other family members who feel neglected, the risk of divorce, the obstacles sometimes from within your own community about what's best for your child. The performances from veteran actors here are a big plus, and the result is a film that works diligently to show an accurate but ultimately uplifting portrait of disability and struggle. These are heavy themes, but, for kids who are old enough, pondering such questions can be rewarding.

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