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Forever Strong Movie Review - Not Really A Mormon Story

Forever Strong - A Rugby Movie




Forever Strong, A Rugby Movie - Has a Mormon background...

UPDATE: FOREVER STRONG is now on DVD -- so if you missed it due to its limited release in movie theatres - you can buy your own copy. Forever Strong is the most inspirational sports movies of 2008 - and is one that you will watch over and over again.

"Forever Strong", which boasts an all-star cast , won a "Truly Moving Picture" award, from the Heartland Film Festival. This is an extraordinary movie, that you won't want to miss.

Although not necessarily a "Mormon" movie, it takes its story from the LDS community. This film is based on Utah's Highland Rugby Team, and tells the story of a former seminary teacher, who coaches the local high school rugby team, to win 18 national championships. The important values of family, respect and honor - are the core principles, that Coach Larry Gelwix, instills through the game of rugby; into his team players. Be sure and watch the YouTube video about Larry Gelwix himself, below.

The film Forever Strong itself, never mentions any LDS details. It is a movie made for the masses. A movie of values, commitment and hard work. It is a movie, that as a member of the LDS Church, I join many others, who also desire more uplifting family movies -- and would like to see more of the same. It is critical, that in order for film makers to continue to produce quality family movies, that the public needs to support movies like, "Forever Strong".

"Forever Strong" is a family movie, but not necessarily intended for small children. The movies has been rated PG-13.

"Forever Strong is a drama/sport film directed by Ryan Little and written by David Pliler to be released in the fall of 2008. The film stars Gary Cole, Sean Faris, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin, Penn Badgley and Arielle Kebbel. The film is about a troubled rugby union player who must play against the team his father coaches at the national championships. Forever Strong is based on a true story." Wiki


"Talented but troubled high school rugby player Rick Penning (Sean Faris) loses his position as the star of an Arizona rugby union team when he is sentenced to a boys' home in Salt Lake City. Rick ends up playing for Salt Lake's famous Highland High School rugby team, coached by Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole), in the national championships - against his old team, which is coached by his father, Neal Penning (Neal McDonough). Emily (Arielle Kebbel) is Rick's love interest, and Marcus (Sean Astin) is his social worker." Wiki

Forever Strong Movie Trailer - Mormon

Forever Strong - Movie Reviews:

The Salt Lake Tribune - Sean P. Means

"Forever Strong" moves briskly, allowing plenty of room for character development and gritty game action. Little makes his micro-budgeted movie look bigger than it is, thanks in part to young talent such as Faris, Penn Badgley ("Gossip Girl") and Arielle Kebbel ("John Tucker Must Die") as a current teammate's sister.

This film was screened at the LDS Film Festival in Orem, Utah earlier this year. Here is one participants review of THE film, Forever Strong.

"I saw this film at the LDS Film Festival earlier this year. It's pretty good. It's along the lines of Saints and Soldiers in that it is not explicitly about Mormons. The story takes place in Utah (Salt Lake). It is based on true stories from the coaching career of Larry Gelwix (the "Getaway Guru" for those of you who listen to KSL), who is perhaps the most successful high school rugby coach in the United States. I believe he is LDS. The film's language is very mild, and there is virtually no skin and no sensuality.

The movie does not include any religious exposition, and the LDS Church is never mentioned. Rather, the film focuses on moral themes that - like we saw in Saints and Soldiers - are understandable by just about anyone.

Is it a film for the ages? No. But it's a solid story with a good message and quite family-friendly. I will support this movie financially as I try to do for most well-made family-friendly films."



Sean Bagley in "Forever Strong".

Sean Bagley in "Forever Strong".

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Forever Strong - Coach Larry Gelwix's Story is EXTRAORDINARY!

LdsNana-Acknowledgements and Requests -

Thank you for reading this hub about FOREVER STRONG, a movie for those who value quality entertainment. If you have enjoyed this article, please give it a BIG THUMBS-UP!

As always, I am appreciative of the many online sources for pictures, reviews, references and video - that enhance a story. If you are aware of credit for pictures, etc... for anything on this hub, please let me know so that I can make sure that due credit is given.


Please leave your thoughts and opinions about the movie - FOREVER STRONG

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on September 01, 2011:

My pleasure. Enjoy the film!

Barbara Anne Helberg from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA on September 01, 2011:

@LdsNana-AskMormon...As a lover of sports and their inspirational impact, I found this Hub about Utah's Highland Rugby team very intriquing and plan to see the film. Thanks for sharing this!

Jetem on February 20, 2011:

This movie has just changed my life... It motivated me to be better in the church, get physically fit, and become a better man... Thank you...

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on April 16, 2009:

Maoriboy -

I had no idea. Thanks for the information.



Maoriboy on April 15, 2009:

I thought the movie was pretty good;good story and very good acting im going to send a copy to my mates back in New Zealand so they can have a laugh.Its a good movie for the U.S but not for anyone else.I was very offended when they performed the Ka Mate(Haka) and his Ta Moko(Tatu) Its a gift from Ngati Toa to the All Blacks and is not to be performed without permission from either the NZRFU or Ngati Toa.Its Exclusive and ive seen american teams do it for football and its a joke ,leave the Indigenous hawaiians to do their Ha'a.

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on October 06, 2008:

Mormon Soprano -

I too, enjoyed the video about Coach Larry Gelwix, and his Highland rugby soccer team. It was apparent to me, that this man has grit! This is a movie that should be seen, and if possible - a great movie to actually see in a theater.

Forever Strong is an inspiring movie, that teaches the prinicples that good people value most.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.



Sassy7 on October 06, 2008:

As a polynesian and and a dancer of hula...this movie surely showed what hula and the haka are all about...we dance to represent our ancestors, to share the language of our people, to help others understand the true essense of our culture and who we come from....Whether we sing, dance, play or do anything in our lives, who we are and who we represent should be upfront in our lives always...I always tell my dancers before a show, that they perform to represent their family, their makua's (parents), their kupuna (grandparents) and that if they dance with their hearts the beauty of the dance will be felt and understood.

When I first moved here from Hawaii 2 years ago..I was very offended by the lack of knowledge people had in the value of the Haka being performed at games here in Utah...the newspaper's cited...the "Taunting" of other teams and so forth, and so I sent off emails to various new's teams to correct the meaning of the "Haka". I am so pleased and was very moved to tears when "FINALLY" some body got it RIGHT!!!! in this movie.

To the director, actors and everyone involved...I say MAHALO! FAA FE TAI! for a movie that finally dipeicted my polynesian culture right...We are raised that way...Know who you are, remember whom you came from, and remember that your kupuna's (ancestor's) are always with you. They are the reason we are here to continue to "Kia Mau" their values and represent them well.

I'm buying this DVD...hope it comes out before Christmas!!!!!

Again......Awesome movie!!!! Awesome Mana!!!!! Ku'e!!!!! Kia Mau!!!!!!

The How To Hub from Australia on October 04, 2008:

This movie isn't out here yet, but it would be good to see.

Mormon Soprano on October 02, 2008:

Great Page, Nana!

I especially enjoyed watvhing the KUTV special on Coach Gelwix. What an awesome leader he is!

I have lived in Utah all of my life and never knew about the Highland Rugby team success. I look forward to watching this movie. Once in awhile a movie comes along that is worth investing to watch in the theatre instead of waiting for RedBox. It looks like this may be one of them.


BTW, regarding the mission thread running here: I served a mission in Wisconsin. It may not have been a "foreign country" for me, but it still managed to feel that way sometimes! I have several hair-raising survival stories involving; severe weather, a car crash, a morgue, mice, cockroaches, bedbugs, ghosts and a companion from Hells Kitchen. :) Latter-day Saint missions offer a lot of unexpected faith building experiences, no matter where one serves! (however, I'm very glad that rats never chewed on my feet)

Claudia Goldstein on October 01, 2008:

I haven't seen this movie yet, I would go see it if it gets to a theatre. I did enjoy The other side of Heaven a few years ago I found it in a video store.

Onusonus on October 01, 2008:

My wife showed me "The other side of heaven," she lived in Kiribati for a few years and got reactivated into the church in Samoa.

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on September 30, 2008:

Cheff Jeff -

Was your wife ever active in the LDS Church? Just curious.

Regardless of where any LDS missionary serves, every single one of them - have amazing stories to tell. It is a unique experience to serve a mission for the Mormon Church. They never know what they are going to encounter. LOL



Chef Jeff from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago. on September 30, 2008:

My wife's nephew did his LDS missionary work here in the U.S. and now lives here with his American wife. He had a lot of stories to tell!

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on September 30, 2008:

Willis -

I'm with you:-) I too, loved the movie "Saints and Soldiers". I have seen it a few times, and I am always so inspired. It is a favorite movie, of the LDS "background" types. I do so hope, that "Forever Strong", has a similar power to it.



Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on September 30, 2008:

Chef Jeff -

Why yes I do!  That was the LDS movie "The Other Side of Heaven", a wonderful film.  Like "Forever Strong", it too, was a true story.  I remember the same creepy scene.  LOL 

But seriously, many Mormon missionaries have some really amazing stories, that are similar - that they tell when returning home from their missions.  Of course, these stories come from those who have served in more remote countries.



Chef Jeff from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago. on September 30, 2008:

Do you remember a movie about an LDS missionary who went to a Pacific Ocean island? One scene I remember is that he didn't cover his feet at night and the rats chewed on the bottoms. Can't remember much else, other than he had to prove himself and finally did.

Willis Whitlock on September 30, 2008:

I look forward to seeing it. Hasn't shown up around these parts yet. I may have to go to it.

I very much like the stories with LDS characters that don't depend on the Mormon inside jokes to get by. My favorite is "Saints and Soldiers." But like I said, I haven't seen Forever Strong yet

Kathryn Skaggs (author) from Southern California on September 30, 2008:

Is This Mike On?

That's great! I love inspirational movies, with family values. It is my understanding, that FOREVER STRONG - is exactly that!



Is This Mike On on September 30, 2008:

I loved this movie. Very moving and inspirational. I hope to see it again.

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