Gymnastics is an amazing sport that exhibits great strength and flexibility displaying an overall feat of fitness. A lot of people can do a few party tricks here and there but that does not make them a gymnast. Becoming a gymnast on a professional level requires a high amount of dedication, persistence, hard work and talent. For the professionals, gymnastics is more like a form of expression using their bodies while being in the moment. But for a normal person, it’s nothing but a dangerous and thrilling routine on the bars, floor, beam, rings or vault.
Most sports are not represented well in movies, and gymnastics is definitely one of those sports. But a few movies have managed to do a great job in portraying the commitment of a gymnast towards their artistic routines. One of those few movies and my personal favorite is the adaptation of Dan Millman’s book. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. This movie is not just about the sport of gymnastics but also about how a man embarks on a spiritual journey when he meets a strange man who becomes his mentor.
Dan Millman tells his story about how he applied the principles of spirituality and was able to be in the moment every time he was up on the rings performing his art. You could watch the ending of this movie a hundred times, it’s that amazing. Sadly, this movie is not on Netflix right now, but there are a few other great movies on Netflix that revolve around the sport of gymnastics and are worth watching. So, here’s the list of really good gymnastics movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
4. The Horse Dancer (2017)
‘The Horse Dancer’ is the movie adaptation of a novel by the writer Jojo Moyes. You must be wondering what horse dancing is and how is it related to gymnastics. Let’s start off with horse dancing first, which is also known as equestrian vaulting. Equestrian vaulting is a sport that exhibits mastery of controlling a horse and your body together. It is a form of dance on a horse’s back. Like gymnastics, it is performed in an exhibition where your level of skills is judged by a panel of experts.
Now equestrian vaulting and gymnastics are two very different sports, but not in this movie. The story revolves around a girl named Samantha who is thrown out of the Olympic gymnastics team because of issues with her attitude. She goes to a horse riding camp for the summer where she develops a new found interest in vaulting horses. She also starts applying some of her gymnastics moves to her vaulting routines and starts teaching them to others on the camp. She later forms a team of vaulters who save money together and save the camp from shutting down.
3. Raising the Bar (2016)
Starring Kelli Berglund, ‘Raising the Bar’ is the story of a young 16-year-old girl who literally raises the bar when it comes to her sport. She not only shows true love and passion for gymnastics but also proves that chasing glory and succeeding at something are two very different things. It takes real courage to follow your heart’s intuition and walk on a path that most people would not. But Kelly does that very well even at the age of 16 and later she even reaps from what she sows.
Kelly decides to quit the elite USA gymnastics program and moves to Australia where she gets a second shot at competitive gymnastics and will have to make certain amends with her past before she can again rise above all others as a champion. The movie does not represent the sport of gymnastics too well but does a decent job in showing a young girl’s struggles when she decides to listen to her heart and follow her passion with a slightly unconventional direction. The movie could have done a better job with the editing and should have shown more gymnastics than it actually did. But overall, the movie can still be enjoyed if you watch it with the sole intention of getting motivated and not with the purpose of seeing some “real gymnastics”. That’s something most of these gymnastics movies will not be able to show because great gymnastics skills are not an actor’s cup of tea.
2. Full Out (2015)
Life can be really unfair sometimes. It sometimes hits us so hard that getting back up becomes nearly impossible. But that’s the difference between the people who succeed and the ones who don’t. When life brings down certain people, they get back up and fight all the odds to be where they always wanted to be and that’s how these people succeed. Very similar to this is the true story of a California-based gymnast named Ariana Berlin. At the age of 14, Ariana was very close to her Olympic dreams, but that’s when things went completely off the road for her when she was involved in a very serious car accident. After recovering from the accident, Ariana started practicing hip-hop dance which gave her a new sense of purpose and also the confidence of starting a new life. But somehow fate reaches up to her and she gets called back to the gymnastics team where she thrives again and earns a spot on the UCLA team. She later goes on to win the NCAA Championship, making her lifelong dream come true.
‘Full Out’ is a great movie for all the aspiring gymnasts out there and also for all those who dream big and need some hope to push through and keep moving ahead. The story of Ariana proves that with persistence, hard work and the power of believing in yourself, you can achieve anything you want. The film is very similar to Miles Teller’s ‘Bleed For This’ in which a boxer goes through a very similar journey and in the end, proves all the naysayers wrong.
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1. A 2nd Chance (2011)
‘A 2nd Chance’ is the inspiring story of a young gymnast named Maddy Cornell who holds immense potential and dreams of being great. But her lack of confidence always gets in her way and stops her from reaching what she aims for. But a new gymnastics coach, Kate, brings hope not just for Maddy but for the entire team. The coach works with each team member individually and helps them bring up their weaknesses. As each member of the team starts to make more progress under the guidance of the new coach, they get closer to being a part of the National Gymnastics team. But as the competition starts to throttle, the rivalry between Maddy and Chelsea Smith, who is known to be “Ms. Perfect” of the team, starts to intensify more and more. Which one of them will be able to thrive under this pressure and which one of them will break under it and come falling down?
‘A 2nd Chance’ isn’t a great sports movie and also gets very predictable most of the times. But it is an average watchable film that you can see with your family and it somewhat addresses the issue of bullying among young kids at times. It’s nothing more than an ordinary sports flick, and you would probably not give this one a second chance.
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