Forever Strong

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Forever Strong

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Forever Strong

Forever Strong

A troubled young rugby player is given the choice between jail or playing for a rival team coached by a man known for building not only championship teams, but championship boys. Based on a true story, Forever Strong offers stand up and cheer sports drama combined with the consequences of a strong ethical code to achieve victory on and off the field

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3 Comments

Sir Charles Panther

June 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm
95 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Superb Values Movie, No Rugby Experience Required, November 20, 2009
By 
Sir Charles Panther (Alexandria, Virginny, USandA) –
(VINE VOICE)
  

This review is from: Forever Strong (DVD)

USA Rugby partnered well with this film’s producers and distributors when it opened, and a lot of rugby clubs held screenings all over the country as fundraisers; I went to the TC Williams Rugby showing in Alexandria, Virginia. Unfortunately, this film was packaged as, and consequently was received by the American movie-going public as “the rugby movie.” So unfortunately it didn’t do well, and was out of theaters quickly. That’s too bad, as this is not a rugby movie. It’s a movie about values and ethics, honesty and integrity, honor and respect, about family and team, and ultimately about growth, redemption, and the transformative power of making a genuine effort, set in the context of rugby.

This is an excellent family film, and even better for just dads and sons to watch together. For the non-rugby viewers: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know a thing about rugby. For the ruggers: you’ll love a well-crafted movie on teamwork, with accurate portrayals of our game.

This movie is not about rugby; it’s about teaching young men the value of teamwork, camaraderie, and that everyone benefits when you become part of something bigger than yourself. This movie is about sacrifice, honor, integrity, and the power of working as a group toward a shared goal. Highland Rugby is the unstoppable juggernaut of American U-19 rugby not because they work harder, but because every single young man in that organization works for the betterment of the team, and not for himself. In this environment, winning becomes merely a by-product.

Synopsis: A talented yet vain high school rugby star ends up in juvie after a DUI. The angry and arrogant hard case is brought into the Highland rugby program and slowly learns the power of teamwork, selflessness, and becoming part of something bigger, which makes him a better man, and a winner.

Comparisons to Remember the Titans and Friday Night Lights are in order, the only difference here being that the sport is unfamiliar rugby. No matter; if you or your kids come out of it wanting to see what rugby is all about, all the better. If you are a rugger, then you will recognize the joy in teamwork you’ve come to love, enjoy the accurate action sequences, and will be happy to see the game treated very well, with very little modification to make it palatable to the rugby-ignorant greater public.

Alcohol and drugs are very clearly portrayed negatively throughout the film, and by the end our hero/former party-boy makes positive choices, on his own and for the right reasons. That being said, this film is not Disney-sweet or preachy, and also shows that these rugby players are not choir boys. They are very serious hard-chargers who know how to have fun, but fun that is legal and does not bring shame to themselves, their team or their families.

Refreshingly, the film does not shy away from the fact that rugby is an intense, full-contact sport and that top-level play is a rough environment. There are lots of bruises, and a bit of blood. One player gets a gnarly bloody nose, which he wipes off with grass. One scene, taking things a bit too far I think, showed a medic pulling a tooth from a gash on a player’s forehead. Now, I’ve seen this injury myself, more than once, so it’s legit, but showing it in the movie is not a good way to get kids–and more importantly their protective parents–to come out to learn and play rugby.

The rugby play is excellent, very well represented and accurate. There are a few very well done action sequences with the camera integrated into the action, with good accompanying sound, which is very much like being involved in actual play. The match play-by-play integrates well to explain what is happening. The referee reactions are also completely in keeping with the game, such as when the ref sends our boy off with a red card early in the movie, and when an opponent receives a yellow card near the end.

There are some powerful dramatic moments in this film, definitely not maudlin or syrupy, and yes, they did get this 28-years-playing lock forward’s eyes to water.

As a youth rugby coach, I wish there were a way I could legally make dozens of copies of this film and hand one out to every single one of my players. No, this movie will not teach them how to play rugby, but if it teaches them about honesty and integrity, and the power of effort and teamwork, then most of my job as coach is already done.

Here’s my suggestion to…

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Craig N. Hartman

June 23, 2016 at 12:51 pm
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The most amazing story in sports, May 22, 2009
By 
Craig N. Hartman (Salt Lake City, UT United States) –
(REAL NAME)
  

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This review is from: Forever Strong (DVD)
This is one of the best, if not the best, sports story ever. This is just one true story from the famed Highland Rugby Team (who just won their 19th straight national championship in 2009). There is a reason for their greatness. You’ll understand when you see this phenomenal film. This was my favorite film of the year.
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Terry

June 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
An underrated film, May 8, 2009
By 
Terry (Alameda, CA) –

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Forever Strong (DVD)
Forever Strong is a wonderful, albeit underrated film about a young man who discovers what’s really important in his life after he nearly throws it away in a freak car accident. Sean Faris finally does a film he can be proud of (hopefully forgetting that cliche Never Back Down)while Gary Cole shines as the coach who shows his players what the true meaning of integrity and honor are. This film did not get the accolades it deserved. It is right up there with Remember the Titans and Friday Night Lights as a classic sports film.
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