Undefeated

 
Inspiring football documentary about the power of teamwork.
  • Review Date: February 17, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages about the transformative power of team sports, the importance of a father figure in young men's lives, and the idea that when you do what's right with integrity and character, good things will follow. Coach Bill is instrumental in teaching the young guys that character isn't about how much you have, but how you handle life's failures. Even in the face of defeat, the Tigers are encouraged to stand tall.

Positive role models

Bill is an amazing role model. He's a generous, caring businessman who coaches low-income teens whom others have underestimated. Although it means his own immediate family has to sacrifice time with him, Bill dedicates himself to helping the guys on the Manassas football team reach their potential. And the guys themselves are also inspiring, despite a few flaws: OC rises to the challenge of studying and practicing to meet the requirements necessary to play college ball, Money stays true to the team even after an injury makes him question whether he's part of it, and Chavis learns from his mistakes and becomes a leader in the team.

Violence

Two players push each other, and one calls the other "gay." Chavis is known for having anger management problems, and he's suspended from playing for a portion of the season for his behavior. The actual game can get fairly violent, and one fall injures a key player.

Sex

A brief mention of a girl whom OC is trying to impress.

Language

A few uses of "s--t," "damn," "ass," "hell," and one pejorative use of the word "gay."

Consumerism

A couple of players are shown wearing Nike athletic wear or sneakers.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this inspiring football documentary includes a few uses of strong language ("s--t") but is otherwise a great example of how one fatherly mentor can make the difference in the lives of many young men. Even better is the fact that Coach Bill isn't a fictional movie character; he's the real deal -- a successful businessman who wants to show underprivileged teens that with discipline and teamwork, they can rise above their surroundings and make it to college and beyond.

Kids say

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What's the story?

UNDEFEATED is an Oscar-nominated documentary that follows the underrated football team from Manassas High School -- a lower-income school in North Memphis, Tenn. -- through a year of tragedies and triumphs. Led by Bill Courtney, a businessman who volunteers his time to coach and mentor the mostly fatherless young men on the team, the Manassas Tigers fight their way to an extraordinary season. The action follows Coach Bill and three of his defensive linemen: OC Brown, a gifted left tackle who needs serious academic help to qualify for a scholarship; Chavis Daniels, a short-fused linebacker with rage issues; and Montrail \"Money\" Brown, a scholar athlete whose prospects plunge after an injury.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Executive produced by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Undefeated is exactly the sort of underdog story that would make an excellent feature film. Coach Bill, a Philip Seymour Hoffman lookalike, is always ready with a pep talk or a nugget of wisdom for his team, but he's also not afraid to talk tough with them when they need a kick in the rear. Although some might think of the situation as a case of white paternalism (a wealthy white businessman volunteers to coach the poor black kids), Bill is truly generous, even at the expense of spending time with his own four children.

But Bill's exceptional generosity isn't the point of the movie; it's about the three players who have different difficulties to overcome to make it out of their rough neighborhood and into college. In a move right out of The Blind Side, Coach Bill agrees to let OC live with him part of the week so that the teen can receive the kind of tutoring necessary to help him meet the minimum requirements to earn a football scholarship. We care about the OC and Money and even combative Chavis, and it's that irresistible pull to find out whether they end up victorious -- not just on the field but in the future -- that will keep you mesmerized until the credits (and epilogue title cards) roll.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Undefeated's messages. Are they all positive? How about role models? Who do you find most inspiring?

  • Discuss the movie's inherent race and class issues. Does race a play a role in how the team relates to Coach Bill?

  • How does Undefeated compare to other inspiring football films about underdog teams? Did the movie end how you expected?

  • Why are sports films so compelling, even if you're not a fan of that particular sport?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 17, 2012
DVD release date:February 19, 2013
Directors:Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Documentary
Topics:Sports and martial arts, High school
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of Undefeated was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 12 and 15 year old Written byakproberts September 6, 2013
age 10+
 

Good family movie

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 July 7, 2014
age 12+
 

Inspirational doc

This movie focuses almost entirely on the very personable Bill Courtney, a charismatic southern coach who has given up just endless amounts of his life to his varsity football team in Tennessee. It then goes into the lives of three of the players, Money, O.C. and Chavis, who are both struggling for life outside of football and unsure about the future. It would be easy to dismiss this movie as a real life "Blind Side" type deal, a white man coming down to swoop up and save all of these black players, but race isn't really brought up in this doc. You just see Courtney's tireless perseverance for his team, he LOVES these kids like his own. I wish I had someone like him for my senior year; our team only won 2 games.
What other families should know
Too much swearing

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