What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Kid is about a teen's involvement in organized and supervised junior boxing competitions and includes many boxing matches, sparring sessions, and scenes showing kids working out and training. While none of the boys are injured or even hurt during the bouts, there are hard hits, falls, along with some suspense. The emphasis of the film is on relevant teen issues: disagreements with parents, resolving problematic alliances, choosing one's life path. The film also builds a very special and important relationship between the young hero and his boxing mentor. (Spoiler alert: this relationship ends tragically.) Other than some club bullies, there are no villains here, simply disparate attitudes and beliefs which provide the conflict.
What's the story?
Teen Jimmy Albright is passionate about boxing. He's very good at it, special even, and Harry (Rod Steiger) his friend and trainer has told him so. But Jimmy's parents are dead set against the boy's participation; they've forbidden it. Against his better judgment and with great guilt and difficulty, Jimmy defies his family and sneaks out for both training and competition. His best friend, Russell, has the opposite problem. He hates the sport, but is desperate to win his widowed father's approval. Each boy seems to have the wrong dad. Confrontations with the club bully, an overwhelming medical issue, the upcoming city boxing championship, and Jimmy's parents discovery of their son's deception all serve to heighten the suspense.
Is it any good?
It's a familiar story -- kid wants to succeed at a sport and must overcome obstacles to achieve his goal. In this case, the main obstacle is a disapproving family. The filmmakers make a good argument for boxing for teens -- "It's about testing yourself, not hurting people" and "It's about overcoming fear." They compare it to other contact sports like hockey and football, deciding it's "less violent" than those. To their credit, the opposition (Jimmy's dad) makes its own strong case, about "barbarism," injury, and "combat." It's left for the audience to decide; Jimmy made his choice early on and that's never in doubt.
Set in a wintry Canada, it's an earnest picture, competently told, and it will tug on some heartstrings. But there's a lot of boxing to get through and it won't appeal to everyone.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the filmmakers try to present both sides of the argument about boxing as a sport. Are they successful in giving you something to think about? Do you agree with their final position?
What did Harry mean by stressing "heart" when he counseled Jimmy?
Do movies like The Kid encourage you to follow your dreams? What other movies like this have influenced you?