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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main character makes a valiant effort to stay noble in the face of unfair judging during a race. He also clearly demonstrates that he's not a quitter. There are some dark moments when he's lost in the fog of depression and bullying by classmates when he's younger.
Violence & Scariness
Obree is bullied as a child (kicked, shoved, and worse) and meets up with the same mean crowd later, at which point he reacts with rage. He also tries to kill himself by hanging. (A father and a child find him.) Some shouting between Obree and his manager.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing between couples, but no more than that (sex is only hinted at).
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Mild. Some use of "damn."
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Products & Purchases
Bicycle paraphernalia, including wheels by Specialized.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in pubs and at post-race celebrations (champagne popping).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this based-on-a-true story sports movie aspires to be inspirational, which works half the time. But it also brings up questions about depression and madness, including an onscreen suicide attempt, which may not be answered by the film itself -- and may be tricky for teens to put into context. Other than that, the content is pretty mild. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Jonny Lee Miller ably captures Obree's weary struggle, never overplaying like a lesser actor might have. Thanks to Miller's performance, Obree's demons don't define him but are simply of him -- in the way most people's demons are. There are no histrionics here, no wide-eyed ravings of a man on the brink. The result is an artfully sketched likeness that's both sympathetic and believable. The rest of the cast -- particularly erstwhile Hobbit Billy Boyd as Obree's manager, Malky -- also rises to the occasion. But the script by John Brown, Simon Rose, and Declan Hughes unfortunately doesn't. Because for all the hinting that the writers and director Douglas MacKinnon do at Obree's mental battles, they never quite explain what's behind all the pain. Flashbacks to a young Obree being bullied -- as horrible as these incidents may be -- don't feel like reason enough. (In real life, Obree's brother's death was a big catalyst for his decline, but none of that material is found here.)
Moreover, Obree's marriage to his wife, Anne (Laura Fraser), hardly appears threatened by his melancholy -- which, frankly, seems implausible. And his motivation for constantly setting the bar high isn't clear. (Reduced to working as a bike messenger, he suddenly aims to break a world record, foregoing the more-expected winning-smaller-races route.) With the rock bottom of the hero's life glossed over, the highs don't seem quite so euphoric. And isn't that swing from dark to light precisely what makes going to sports movies so worth the ride?
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate