Parents' Guide to

The House That Rob Built

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Positive messages, role models in inspiring sports docu.

Movie NR 2021 59 minutes
The House That Rob Built Poster Image

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Despite the relatively niche topic of the rise of a women's basketball team at a Montana university, this documentary has some universal themes that could interest a wider audience. As The House That Rob Built depicts, even despite Title IX anti-discrimination laws passed in the early 1970s, there was very little investment in, support for, or expectations from women's university athletics even a decade later. That context explains why Rob Selvig's coaching of the Lady Griz was so groundbreaking in its day. Newspaper clips and archive images capture the rise of the team and the excitement they generated from the mid-1980s on, while interviews with contemporary girls reflect the team's continued cultural importance. This film is clearly a celebration of a beloved figure in a generations-wide local community.

The one-hour documentary is mostly talking heads, and many of Rob's former players get emotional talking about his significance and the role of the team's "sisterhood" in their lives. To hear the stories of his former players is also to understand the essential role that team sports can play in people's lives, and the opportunity that college athletic scholarships can open up for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. An unnecessarily loud musical soundtrack threatens to overpower the interviewees at times, which is unfortunate because their testimonies and Rob's own memories of his coaching philosophy were certainly compelling enough to stand on their own.

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