A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive Role Models
So Wa Wai is an athlete born with cerebral palsy and severe hearing loss who goes on to set running records in the Paralympics. His mother goes to tremendous lengths to help him succeed -- working four part-time jobs, taking care of him at home with his daily needs, advocating for medal-winning Paralympians to be paid just as much as medal-winning Olympians. So Wa Wai's coach, a former runner who also has a disability, doesn't put up with any laziness and doesn't go easier on him because of his disability.
Movie is a biopic on a man born with cerebral palsy and severe hearing loss who goes on to set records as a runner in the Paralympics. The movie presents So Wa Wai has a person who faces challenges and finds ways to overcome them, with a lot of help from a strong-willed mother and a coach who doesn't baby him in the least. The original title was On Your Mom, Get Set, Go! (as in "Eyes on your Mom," a line in the movie that helped So Wa Wai to stay focused when he took his place at the starting line), a title that makes a lot more sense than Zero to Hero, which seems to imply that someone with his disabilities was a "zero" before becoming a successful competitive athlete.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
As a teen, So Wa Wai is chased by bullies throughout the apartment building where he lives.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Infrequent profanity: "damn," "bastard." Bullies call lead character "retard."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
PBR can clearly shown in one scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Coach shown drinking from a PBR can during a practice.
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 Zero to Hero is a 2021 biopic in Cantonese with English subtitles about a Hong Kong man born with cerebral palsy and severe hearing loss who goes on to win gold medals in the Paralympic Games. While the movie is rooted in the tradition of "comeback kid" sports movies, with lots of montages, rousing music, and triumph over adversity, the movie doesn't sugarcoat the challenges that not only the lead character faces, but also his family and those around him as they work many jobs while providing for his daily care -- his mother works four part-time jobs, for instance, and his little brother starts to feel neglected as so much attention is devoted to the main character. The lead character is bullied as a teen, as he's chased around the apartment building where he lives while the bullies call him "retard." Infrequent language ("damn," "bastard"). Beer drinking in one scene. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a unique "comeback kid" biopic, positive in messages if, at times, needlessly sappy and melodramatic. Zero to Hero tells the story of So Wa Wai, a gold medal and world record-setting Paralympian, and the challenges he faced, as well as the challenges faced by his family -- emotionally and financially. At its best, the movie doesn't sugarcoat these challenges in the least, and a big takeaway is just how hard everyone worked to ensure his success. The moments of victory are rewarding payoffs for the viewer, and pull out all the stops in terms of the "rousing victory" orchestral background music and the intensity of the races. Like any decent "comeback kid" sports movie, the audience gets to feel and share in the victory, and So Wa Wai's victory laps leave the same warmth and pleasure as, say, the US Olympic Hockey Team beating the Soviets in 1980, Rocky defeating Apollo, or Rudy finally getting the chance to make a tackle for Notre Dame.
However, it's not without shortcomings. There are sidestories that don't really go anywhere and just end up making the movie longer than it needs to be. There's a younger brother who feels neglected, and there's no real resolution to that story thread. The father disappears for long periods of time, only to reappear as someone who gets injured and puts his son's Paralympic career in jeopardy by doing so. There's a "love interest" story thread that ends in a cruel way and doesn't really reveal anything new in terms of the story. The title itself is also problematic, and maybe something got lost in translation, but "Zero" seems to imply that someone born with disabilities doesn't have much to offer the world until they find a way to be a "hero" by training and winning in the Paralympic Games. In spite of this, it's still an inspiring sports movie that will inspire tears during the "tearjerker" scenes, and feelings of triumph when the challenges are overcome and the victories are hard-won.
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.