Sometimes a good, clean gymnastics movie is just what a girl needs in order to feel re-invigorated in doing gymnastics. Sometimes movies can also be a great way to even learn a little bit more about what you can expect from gymnastics and what some of the everyday life of a gymnast might look like. Even if you are only looking for some family friendly entertainment, here are my picks for the top 5 gymnastics movies.
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars
This movie is about a nine year old girl named McKenna who is a gymnast who desires above all else to make it to the Olympics. The Shooting Stars Gym is the name of the place she gets her training. One day her coach sees her doing an advanced dismount and tells her that she isn’t ready for that skill yet and that she needs to work more on her foundational skills first.
Upset, she meets up with her best friend Toulane Thomas who tells her how awesome she did as they talk about their dream of both going to the 2016 Summer Olympics, where they each see themselves getting the gold. Their top concern in the meantime, however, is making it into the Regional competitive team.
At practice they watch the other girls doing their routines, surveying who would and wouldn’t be in their way to the top. When McKenna gets home she discovers that she is in trouble. It turns out that her teacher told her parents that her grades were going down and that she needs to get a tutor.
McKenna has no intentions of learning from a tutor, but her parents feel she is doing too much gymnastics and not enough school, however so she promises to do better and they let it slide. However, when an accident happens at school that is McKenna’s fault, she has to choose to either accept a tutor or not be allowed to participate in gymnastics.
So McKenna chooses to take a tutor and in the meantime the gymnastic team performs for the parents. During the performance McKenna does the wrong dismount and gets hurt, and is told that while she heals she can’t do gymnastics anyway. It ends with her becoming friends with her tutor Josie, her grades improved, and she gets healed up in time to compete at Regional.
Raising the Bar
Raising the Bar is a family-friendly movie about a 16 year old girl named Kelly Johnson (played by Kelli Berglund) that loves gymnastics and has a passion for it. She is good at it and is part of the elite USA gymnastics program. She undergoes some trials before her family moves away to Australia, so she decides to quit gymnastics.
After arriving there she slowly starts to find friends who happen to be gymnasts, and soon they learn she is too. They ask Kelly to join the team and help them compete and she considers it, but Kelly has a problem: the issues from her past that she chose to quit for. Now Kelly will have to deal with them, or she will not be able to go on and give it her all.
She then has to decide to either conquer her past or not help her new friends. The movie teaches that staying true to your heart will take you far and you can succeed in the long run. Though there are challenges along the way, if you don’t give up, you can go far, even to the Olympics.
Fall Out is also known as Fall Out: The Ariana Berlin Story, it is based on the true-life story of California gymnast Arian Berlin. Ariana is played by Ana Golia. In the movie Ariana is a gymnast that is looking forward to going to the Olympics. To Ariana, her life is set, and with her skills she is guaranteed to make it.
But she wakes up in a hospital bed where her body is in bad shape, she is in horrible pain, and her dreams for her future are gone.Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she sees something that she thinks she can do, street dancing. She works through the pain and gives it her all to discover she can do much more than she thought she would be able to.
The real Story of Ariana Berlin: Ariana was going to the Olympics. She was 14 years old when she and her mom were in a horrible car accident, they were hit from behind by a speeding car and rolled down the freeway. She spent five days in an induced coma, suffered two collapsed lungs, two broken legs, a broken wrist, broken collarbone and cracked ribs.
Yes, her career was over but she didn’t give up. She became a professional hip hop dancer, then later went to UCLA where she did end up winning the NCAA Championships. When Hollywood decided to do her story, she wanted to play her actresses double and do the actual stunts. She was twenty-six years old, but did that stop her? No, she trained hard and was able to do it, which is why you will see her in the movie.
Nadia is played by Leslie Weiner as young Nadia and Johann Carlo as older Nadia. The film is based on the life of a Romanian gymnast who became a world champion. She was fourteen years old when she got the first perfect 10 score at the Olympics, this was the very first perfect ten scored in gymnastic world history.
After that she was popular but then she the pressure was too great, and she started struggling with everything. She finally came back a few years later and led her country to the World Champion Gold.
The real was not only the first to win a perfect 10 score, but throughout her career she gained up to nine perfect 10s, nine Olympic metals, and four World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals. She was known as the one who made the sport popular around the world and she was named as one of the Athletes of the 20th Century.
Her mother said she put her in gymnastic class because she was so full of energy, she hoped it would help make her more manageable. Nadia started when she was six years old and at 9 years old, she was the youngest gymnast to ever win the Romanian Nationals. She was the first Romanian gymnast to win the Olympics all-around title and is still holding the record for the youngest ever all-around champion. In 1989 Nadia defected with others and traveled mostly on foot at night through Hungary, Austria, and finally to the United States.
Gibby is about a young girl Katie who is played by Shelby Lyon. Katie’s mother has recently died leaving a whole in her heart with sadness that she just can’t seem to shake. Katie finds no joy in the things like she used to. Friends, school, and even the gymnastics that she used to love all have no meaning to her anymore.
It was her mother who had been her greatest cheerleader, encouraging her in gymnastics and being there to root for her. So Katie had quit competing and had even quit the gymnastics team. Her friends and teammates begged her to stay and not let Alicia, the mean girl, become their captain but to be the captain herself.
Then when a boy named Tommy shows interest in her, Alicia does something mean to her at the school dance. Meanwhile Katie’s science teacher Ms. Martin is going away and needs someone to care for her pet capuchin monkey named Gibby while she is gone.
Katie is one of the students who volunteers and Ms. Martin chooses her. She soon discovers that Gibby is more than a handful, maybe more like ten handfuls easy. Gibby’s attitude about life is everything is just grand, and life is great no matter what. The longer that Katie watches Gibby, the more some of this monkey’s attitude rubs off onto Katie, helping her to get her zest for life back.
Gibby makes for a lot of laughs, not for the actors in the movie but for people watching it too. As Katie gets her passion for life back everything else falls into place. This includes her gymnastics, her friends, Alicia backing off, and maybe something extra too. It get’s the Dove’s Seal for all ages.