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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.