Forever Strong

Forever Strong

(2008)

Rick Penning (Sean Faris) is a bad-boy rugby player. When life on the edge lands him in jail, prison ward Marcus Tate (Sean Astin, Lord of the Rings) offers him a chance to get back into the game by playing for long-time rival team, Highland Rugby. Reluctantly, Rick joins the team where he has to adopt gruelling training schedules and a unique code of conduct that Highland's legendary coach Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole) demands. Gelwix is a real guy and the film is based on his coaching philosophies.

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Flicks Review

Rugby is an exotic sport in the United States where its rarity can be molded to fit the needs of almost any parable. New Zealanders familiar with the rucking and post-match debauchery of First XV munters will find the saintly aura affixed to our national code in Forever Strong somewhat disconcerting.

This is a two-toned inspirational sports film, in which characters are either models of abstinence, sobriety, charity work and fair play, or Quaalude-scoffing psychopathic cheats. For an indie-budget production the rugby scenes are on par with a bottom-of-the-table provincial match, but despite the simplifications this morality tale should play well with parents.... More

This is easily the best film about rugby I’ve caught on the big screen. That's because flicks about rugby are rarer than midget locks – making this the only film about rugby I’ve seen.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 20 ratings, 22 reviews
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My friend was on the Highland Highschool Rugby Team and he told me that most of these events are true, but a lot of them are from different years and almost no original names were used. An interview with the coach verified this. It played out with the same plot as any other sport movie. Still, it was a good movie, albiet predictable. But why is everyone upset about the Haka and the New Zealand All Blacks? Unless something was incorrect, like mispronounced words or something, I think that... More there should be no reason to not use a war dance to pump up for a game. And Highland dominates as much as the All Blacks do in their league.

I would have rated 3.5/5 stars, but I bumped it up because my friend was on the team. Hey, I can show a little favoritism, can't I?Hide


It is interesting to note people complaining about the use of the haka in this film. Are they aware that the actual highland rugby team have been performing the haka for 20+ years now? It has become part of their culture also. This started as the coach was taught rugby by coaches from NZ and they brought it with them. I think it is great to see our culture being embraced by others around the world. We need more of it if it is to survive and even thrive.

This is a movie I enjoy, though I do... More see it's flaws. Yes the rugby scenes might be compared to our provincial games, but remember this is High School rugby, in a country who only have a small pool for competition.Hide


you guys dont even know what you are talking about this movie was ficken amazing dude...it had to be the best movie i ever seen in my entire life...the star rating may only go to 5 but i give it a 10 it was that good


It sickens me to hear that an American team are going around performing the Haka and drawing Koro patterns on their arms in a black marker.

The Haka is a traditonal Moari war dance ...yeah MOARI meaning America has NO RIGHT to perform it. No right.

Truly disgusting.


LOVED seeing my culture on the big screen, the world stage! Big ups, its a great story to be told! Lighten up reviewers, we have one of the most unique cultures - share it with the world!!!!!!


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The Press Reviews

29% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • This inspirational sports drama unfolds in such generic fashion that it feels contrived more often than it rings true. Full Review

  • The movie is well shot and edited, the rugby scenes are enjoyable (if likely puzzling to the uninitiated) and "Strong's" earnestness excuses at least some of its predictability. Full Review

  • A mawkish drama hobbled by a thoroughly unpleasant and uncharismatic lead performance. Full Review

  • In the end, the film becomes emotionally gripping with its interest in the human condition - a universal exploration through specifics. Male aggression - when properly channelled - doesn't have to be destructive. Full Review

  • The performances are credible across the board, excessive sentimentality is largely avoided, and the sequences devoted to rough-and-tumble rugby match-ups are expertly shot and edited. Full Review