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HEART OF A CHAMPION is entertaining, well directed and well-acted. The characters may be a little stereotypical, but they are true to life, and the actors bring believability to their roles. HEART OF A CHAMPION has a very strong moral worldview with strong redemptive values. It stresses honesty, hard work, determination, good mentoring, purity, honor, doing the right thing, repentance, and forgiveness. The best family movies have storylines engaging for all age levels. HEART OF A CHAMPION achieves that goal with blue-ribbon success. MOVIEGUIDE® advises parental discretion for younger children for two light obscenities.
HEART OF A CHAMPION is a “diamond-in-the-rough” family movie on Amazon Prime that tells a surprising and exemplary adult storyline of an honest man seeking honorable relationships in a broken world while also telling the central tale of a girl and her horse. Along with entertaining twists and turns, and solid production values, the experienced actors in HEART OF A CHAMPION bring raw believability to their varied, imperfect and realistic characters, and the movie has a strong moral worldview with redemptive values stressing honesty, perseverance, good mentoring, purity, honor, encouragement, doing the right thing, repentance, forgiveness, and grace.
Scenic rural aerial shots open HEART OF A CHAMPION to inspiring instrumental music, first showing a pick-up truck pulling a horse trailer along country roads, then following a girl galloping a horse striding through lush woods. Turns out the movie is showing the active imagination of a 14-year-old girl. Her reveries are rudely interrupted when her teacher calls upon Charlotte Grace Madison, also known as Charlie, to answer a question during a school-day class session.
Charlie and her mother, Beth, make an appearance in the school office, where the principal explains that, along with her other good grades Charlie’s earning this semester, she definitely has an “A” in daydreaming. Beth lets the principal know the current difficult family time of separation and divorce. Afterwards, she also talks to Charlie about her classroom attentiveness.
The movie introduces Charlie’s father, Troy, at a neighborhood party thrown by his good friend, Clint. Troy is commiserating with Clint about the marital split with Beth. He professes his love for both his children, Charlie and her younger brother, Mikey. Charlie overhears her father telling Clint he “would do anything for those kids.” So, she holds him to his promise by outlandishly requesting a horse. Since Clint owns a stable, he helps Troy out by committing to help Charlie find and care for her own horse.
While the focus of HEART OF A CHAMPION is on Charlie, it also tells the story of Clint who helps Charlie acquire a horse. He also teaches Charlie how to ride Western style, then to barrel race, and finally taking Charlie all the way to the Texas State Finals in barrel racing. In the process, Clint wins the resistant heart of Charlie’s mom, Beth. Eventually, Clint must honestly tell Troy about both the awkwardness and blessing of this new wrinkle in all the already complicated relationships. Clint’s personal character arc of seeking righteousness makes HEART OF A CHAMPION transcend a predictable “girl and her horse” story through the subtle demonstration of the biblical principle of seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness, with Jesus’ promised result of so much more (see Matthew 6:33).
The production values match the entertainment value in HEART OF A CHAMPION. The camera work, sound and scene settings are almost all Grade A. An exception, however, are the barrel racing speeds of the two main competitors. For example, the film clip of the girl who wins the state competition is noticeably slower than that of the loser. The script also could be accused of stereotyping the characters. For example, there’s the quirky, the self-absorbed father, the overly serious mother, the bullying “mean girls,” good kids telling white lies, the caring romantic interest, and the wise mentor. However, the characters are true to life, and the actors bring believability to their roles.
HEART OF A CHAMPION has a very strong moral worldview. Charlie rises above hardship to take the steps necessary to achieve her dream and goals. At school, Charlie ignores bullying to maintain a pure heart and healthy relationships. Clint encounters an opportunity to make a difference in a broken family and honorably takes the mentoring steps to guide a young teenager to accomplish worthy goals. An opposing pagan worldview of “anything goes” crops up in several ways. Charlie’s dad Troy often pops off with whatever he is feeling at the moment. The “mean girl” bullies will say or do just about anything to stay on top by putting others down. The original owner of Charlie’s horse takes it back at the worst timing without regard to Charlie’s needs. Even Charlie’s upstanding boyfriend will tell a “white lie” that takes blame upon himself and keeps Charlie from getting into trouble. Moral, biblical values rise victorious, though. Thus, the lie is confessed and apologized. The horse’s original owner is convinced to return the horse to Charlie in time to compete. After verbal insults from her archrival, Charlie takes the high road and sincerely gives a word of encouragement in reply. Finally, Troy eventually comes around to support Charlie’s quest and Clint’s mentorship.
The best family movies have storylines engaging for all age levels. HEART OF A CHAMPION attains that goal with blue-ribbon success. MOVIEGUIDE® advises parental discretion for younger children for two light obscenities.
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