A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Winning Favor is a 2012 faith-based movie from the Dove Foundation about an Iowa high school basketball team applying their dreams, faith, and hard work toward victory both on and off the court. While many of the values promoted in the movie are universal, those who are looking for more of a straight-forward sports movie without excessive preachiness will be turned off by the heavy-handed presentation of faith and spirituality and the amateurish production values and acting. However, for Christian parents -- especially those with athletic children -- this movie, based on a true story, shows religious faith put into practice.
What's the story?
In the small community of Orange City, Iowa, high school basketball is second only to faith in God. In the summer of 1994, four boys growing up there make a vow to take their high school team to the state championships by the time they graduate from high school in 2005. While Mike and Eddie go to the Christian high school, Chris and Drew go to the rival high school and keep their goal in mind as they try and take their team, the Dutchmen, to State. The Dutchmen's coach (Mathew Ashford), frustrated by his short temper and the growing concerns of parents and others in the community that the Dutchmen will never win it all, turns to scripture, and encourages his team to craft their own mission statements, inspired by their dreams and their faith. Meanwhile, Chris, despondent over no longer being a starter, quits the team. It's up to Chris, with the help of his family, to set aside his ego for the good of the team, and it's up to the Dutchmen to put their faith and dreams into practice in order to win the Iowa State Championships.
Is it any good?
The values espoused in this movie are generally positive and universal regardless of one's religious faith. But the amateurish production values and acting in WINNING FAVOR make this a difficult movie to watch, especially for those hoping for more of a basketball-themed movie and less of a faith-based film. Also, there's very little in the way of actual basketball games shown in the movie; the championship game is summarized -- over and done with in less than a minute. The teen boys in the film barely, if at all, stand out from one another; only Chris, who quits the team after being told by the coach that he won't be starting, has the chance to emerge from the rest of his friends.
However, for those looking for a faith-based sports movie set in a high school basketball-crazed small Midwestern town, this should prove an inspirational and worthwhile movie that shows the good that can happen when people focus on goals rooted in their faith.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sports movies. What similarities and differences do you see between this and other sports-centered movies?
How were faith and Biblical principles put into practice by the team and community in the movie?
Do you think there was enough actual basketball being played in the movie? Why or why not?
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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.