The Gabby Douglas Story Movie Poster Image

The Gabby Douglas Story



Strong positive messages in otherwise rote athlete biopic.
  • Review Date: January 29, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Family unity and support is championed; we see Gabby's success depicted against the framework of a strong and loving family unit. Brother and sisters do dishes together, help each other, and are there for each other, as is Gabby's loving single mom and grandmother.

Positive role models

Gabby Douglas is a heroic figure who succeeded despite obstacles due to her powerful will and talent -- a terrific role model for young athletes or other young people with big dreams.

Not applicable

Squeaky clean except for one moment when Gabby says she "sucks" at a particular gymnastics move. There is a bit of mean-girl talk too at the gym, such as when a rival tells Gabby she's too short.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Gabby Douglas Story is a biopic about a young American gymnast who overcame obstacles to become an Olympic champion. The film contains no drinking, smoking, sex, or cursing, though there is a small amount of mean-girl talk at the gym and Gabby can be harsh on herself when evaluating her abilities. Gabby is depicted as a hard-working and determined individual who won't let poverty and illness stop her from reaching her goals. She is the member of a close-knit family headed by a single mom, who leaves Gabby's dad because he can't find a job. Gabby herself then moves away from her family as a young teen to train with a particular coach; parents may question whether they agree with that decision. Otherwise, this is a squeaky-clean sports films that youthful athletes, particularly gymnasts, may draw inspiration from.

What's the story?

In 2012, Gabby Douglas made history by becoming the first woman of color to win individual all-around champion at the summer Olympics. THE GABBY DOUGLAS STORY shows us how she got there, despite long odds. Young Gabby (played by actresses Imani Hakim, Sydney Mikayla, and Gabby herself at different stages) was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder at infancy, and was so tiny and weak her family feared for her life. But the small girl grew and thrived under the care of her three loving siblings and tough, strong single mom (Regina King). When she showed a talent for gymnastics, her family scrimped and saved and found a way to have her coached. They even stuck it out when Gabby moved a thousand miles away to Iowa to train with her dream coach for the Olympics. We already know how the story ends, but what'll inspire young viewers is how determined Gabby Douglas was to succeed.

Is it any good?


The Gabby Douglas Story has just exactly the rhythm of an episode of Behind the Music. We meet our young protagonist, see the spark of talent and the flush of success, then obstacles are introduced, bringing our heroine down for a time, until she triumphs to the sound of soaring horns and bells.

The big-win-at-the-end formula is a predicatble one, but The Gabby Douglas Story is not without its charms, namely a palpable sweetness in the way Regina King's character rears her family with love yet strict firmness. Young viewers who watch the onscreen Gabby talking over her problems with her brother and sisters as they all do the dinner dishes together, and hear Gabby in voiceover repeating nuggets of her mom's wisdom will receive a potent positive message: Douglas' strong family bonds (and a whole lot of hard work) is what ultimately helped her triumph. Young athletes, particularly young gymnasts, will soak up the story of a girl "with a dream so big it'll eat you alive if it doesn't come true," even if parents find the goings-on a bit by-the-numbers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the real-life Gabby Douglas. Are there parts of her life that this film does not depict? Why would that be? Are Douglas' flaws and weaknesses seen in this movie as well as her strengths?

  • After this movie, do you admire Gabby Douglas? Do you think you are meant to? What about the way The Gabby Douglas Story characterizes its heroine brings you to this conclusion?

  • Does The Gabby Douglas Story make becoming an Olympic gymnast look fun? Glamorous? Hard? Do you think this take on the lifestyle is accurate? Does the movie make you more interested in gymnastics? Or less?

Movie details

DVD release date:April 15, 2014
Cast:Regina King, Imani Hakim, Sydney Mikayla
Director:Gregg Champion
Studio:Sony Pictures
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent Written byMixyplixl October 22, 2014

Inspiring true story, mostly well-done if a bit cliched

Gabby Douglas overcame great odds to become America's gymnastic sweetheart. This Lifetime drama does a great job overall and I think is very compelling to kids, with a winning performance by the actress playing Gabby - and with Gabby herself doing the stunts. I don't know why CM rated as 12 and up - but there are some difficult family situations in the beginning - with financial hardships resulting in near homelessness and the mom needing to take the kids and leave the non-working father. Younger kids may be bored by the length of time it takes for the gymnastics part of the story to develop. There is also the classic Lifetime melodrama, with some events being a little overdramatized and predictable.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old June 12, 2016

Amazing film

Nothing bad in it but you need to be old enough to understand it, this is about how the famous gymnast Gabby Douglas became who she is now, she is a great role model for gymnasts and she is also very inspiring
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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