by: Ryan Little
Starring: Gary Cole, Sean Faris, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin, Penn Badgley
Released by: Go Films
Short: An inspirational rugby film about discipline and the power of the mind as applied to human interaction.
An Homage to Gelwix and Highland Rugby
A Family Power Struggle
Highland Rugby coach Larry Gelwix was once quoted as saying, "It's not about rugby, it's about young men. It's not about building a championship team, it's about building championship boys, boys who will be forever strong." And indeed, being "forever strong" is a theme that runs prevalent through the recent movie release of the same name; it highlights the ideals seeded behind the real-life team who has won eighteen national championship titles since it was founded in the 1970s.
Sean Faris stars as Rick Penning, a troubled adolescent who has everything and nothing at the same time: despite being a star rugby player for a winning team, he lacks self-discipline as well as emotional support from his father and rugby coach, (played by Neal McDonough) who seems to care only about winning. After some reckless decisions land Rick in jail, prison ward Marcus Tate (Sean Astin) grants him an opportunity to shorten his sentence by playing for the rival team, Highland Rugby.
Rick quickly learns that this new team is different, as shown by the intense and strict training regime as well as honor code of conduct enforced by Coach Gelwix (Gary Cole). Rick initially resists Gelwix's methods and shuns his teammates, but eventually comes to trust and embrace both. Slowly but surely, Rick learns to develop a commitment to his team as well as a stronger sense of himself.
Forever Strong is an inspirational piece that showcases the transition from boyhood to manhood, as well as the struggles that come with it. The on-field scenes are fast and action-packed, a real treat for anyone into sports. Although the acting is so-so at best, it's a movie that highlights strong values of discipline, hard work and dedication.
Reviewed by Alain Gayot and Katrina Romero
||(Updated: 09/29/08 KR)