Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's overall message is that to be a family, you need unconditional love -- and that you have to forgive yourself for past wrongs. Additionally, there's a positive lesson about a healthy marriage and family dynamic versus the very dysfunctional family dynamic that the three main characters display.
Positive Role Models
Brendan is a scrappy underdog who works hard to achieve his success in the ring. He's also a wonderful husband and father who treats his wife like an equal and has mature debates with her when they disagree about issues. Although his brother is cruel to him, Brendan obviously loves Tommy unconditionally, despite their years of silence. Even Paddy -- a repentant alcoholic who truly wants to make amends -- can be considered a role model. Tommy, on the other hand, is mostly haunted and conflicted; the only person he's kind to is his best friend's widow.
Violence & Scariness
The entire movie centers around mixed martial arts (MMA) fights; some are quick (an instant knock-out), while others are brutal and drawn out. Characters get seriously hurt (a few look like they're nearly unconscious during/after a fight), and in a couple of cases, fighters have bones broken. There's not much blood, and no one is killed, but the competitors sport a variety of bruises and are shown limping or dragging their wounded limbs. The fighting style involves arms and legs, so there's a lot of intense punching, kicking, headlocks, body slamming, and more. Commentators narrate the action and often talk about how so-and-so looks like he's "getting killed," "not moving," etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A husband and wife kiss, embrace, and have a couple of mature late-night conversations in the bathroom -- once while she's in her underwear and tank top, another while he's shirtless and in the tub. Women in bikinis are "ring girls."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "hell," "idiot," one use of "f--k," "crap," "damn," "goddamned," "oh my God," etc. Insulting and hurtful words are exchanged by estranged relatives.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
No overt product placements, but the movie is bound to draw attention to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the mixed martial arts (MMA) style of kickboxing. ESPN is briefly shown in a couple of scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An older man -- an alcoholic -- falls off the wagon and is shown drunk, disoriented, and nearly incoherent. There are empty bottles strewn around a hotel room to show just how much he's had to drink. A character is known to be a pill-popper and is made to relinquish his prescription bottles in a somewhat humorous manner.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a touching family drama wrapped in an intense "David vs. Goliath"-style fight. The movie deals with some weighty issues that most younger kids won't fully understand: the conflicted relationship between fathers and sons, the estrangement of brothers, alcoholism, and the willingness of a husband and father to do whatever it takes to help his family. The movie's many mixed martial arts sequences are fast and furious and feature a lot of beatdowns, but no one is killed -- just down for the count. There's some profanity ("s--t," "ass," "goddamned," etc.) and some marital intimacy (two bathroom conversations with the couple half-dressed, and a kiss or two), but otherwise it's really only the themes and violence that make this movie an iffy pick for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Gavin O'Connor has created a perfect vehicle for two of Hollywood's most compelling imported actors: English scene-stealer Hardy and Aussie leading man Edgerton. Both are positively amazing in this film, but they personify completely opposing cinematic types. Hardy's Tommy is the aloof champion with a tortured soul, and Edgerton's Brendan is the scrappy underdog who will stop at nothing to keep his family intact. The brothers are like two suns, with the other characters orbiting around one or the other and the audience left figuring out whom is more deserving of their loyalty.
Both men are flawed, but the director tips the balance in Brendan's favor by showing his circle of supporters: an inspiring coach (Frank Grillo) who uses Beethoven's music to keep his fighters calm in the cage; a beautiful, loving wife (House alum Jennifer Morrison); and a classroom of awed high-school students who can't help but cheer for their science teacher. Nolte is also a revelation, his croaky voice underscoring Paddy's tremendous sadness at having alienated both of his sons. Despite all of the movie's thrilling MMA sequences, this is ultimately a poignant family drama where it's brotherly love, not millions of dollars, that's at stake.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Great Sports Movies
Drama Movies That Tug at the Heartstrings
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate