The Rebound

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Rebound Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu about wheelchair basketball players; cursing.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 76 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Documentary shows the power of determination and perseverance both on and off the basketball court for a team of wheelchair athletes. Teamwork is emphasized.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The wheelchair athletes on the Miami Heat Wheels find ways to succeed and win both on and off the court. When their funding is drastically cut, they organize car washes to raise money. They spend hours each day working out and practicing. They pursue their dreams of victory in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, and also pursue their dreams of competing at the collegiate level, earning degrees, and performing live music. 

Violence

Some of the men interviewed in the documentary were paralyzed due to gun violence; they speak of the incidents that led to them being confined in a wheelchair. Players are knocked on their sides while fighting for the ball.

Sex
Language

Infrequent profanity: "F--k," "bulls--t," "damn." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Rebound is a 2016 documentary about the challenges and victories of the wheelchair athletes playing for the Miami Heat Wheels both on and off the court. The men on the team who are interviewed talk about the gun violence or car accidents that resulted in them being paralyzed. Infrequent profanity, including "f--k," "bulls--t," "damn." While the documentary is centered on the challenges these wheelchair athletes have faced in their daily lives and the difficulties faced in keeping the team together, the bigger story that emerges concerns how much can be accomplished in life with a positive attitude and a strong desire to succeed. 

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What's the story?

THE REBOUND follows the Miami Heat Wheels on their quest to become champions of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Mario finds meaning and purpose as a member of the team as he struggles to reconnect with his estranged family. Jeremie "Phenom" Thomas spends his time off the court determined to be a successful recording artist. Orlando is working toward getting an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Arlington to earn a degree in civil engineering. Together, the Heat Wheels have triumphed over their own individual adversity and work together as a team to ensure they have the funding to compete in their playoff games across the country when faced with budget cuts. Will this be the year they win?

Is it any good?

While this is certainly a "feel good" sports documentary, this overused term doesn't really do this movie justice. The ultimate message comes through not in genre classifications or even in the words of the players. The message comes through the strongest in how the players on the Miami Heat Wheels play the game. There are so many times when the players are knocked on their sides while fighting for the ball during a rebound, falls that look and sound like they could knock the wind out of anyone, and yet, they immediately and quite literally bounce back up and get back in the game. It's an extraordinary thing to see, so much so that the awareness of the players as "wheelchair athletes" fades into the background and instead, they're simply "athletes."

These bounce-backs from the paint are the perfect representation of the larger story and message this documentary tells. The players' difficulties and challenges are real, but there's a resilience that drives them to get back up and out there. And how these players are applying what they have learned through basketball to other facets of their life, and how they truly believe that anything is possible with enough work, determination, and perseverance, is what really comes through. The Rebound is a sports documentary that's so much more than a Rocky-style montage or ESPN highlight reel. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sports documentaries. How does The Rebound compare to other documentaries centered on a team or an athlete? 

  • What positive messages emerge, and how does the movie convey those messages? 

  • What are some of the assumptions about wheelchair athletes that are challenged in this movie? How does the movie use interviews and footage of the athletes competing to challenge those assumptions? 

  • What character strengths does the movie demonstrate?

Movie details

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