Her Best Move
This independent production is one of those rare finds that may get passed over on the crowded DVD shelves. Yet it's definitely worth a second look, thanks to a fresh cast, a sensible script and some good messages.
Sara (Leah Pipes) is a 15-year-old girl who lives for soccer. In fact, she's so good she may have a chance to join the U.S. National Team, making her the youngest player ever. However, there are other things to contend with besides seeking fame on the field. To begin, her mother Julia (Lisa Darr) isn't exactly happy with her father Gil's (Scott Patterson) constant push to have her improve her game -- a trait he comes by naturally, considering he's a women's soccer coach.
Then there are the daily distractions of high school, and the enticing of her best friend Tutti (Lalaine) who feels it is her duty to tempt Sara to try some of life's other offerings, such as dance and drama -- or even boys, like the handsome but shy yearbook photographer Josh (Drew Tyler Bell). While juggling these feelings, an unexpected setback forces Sara to take a time out from her well-laid plans. Suddenly the young athlete finds herself questioning her future in sports and the dedication it requires. This new perspective sits well with her mother, but acts to further distance her parents from each other as they struggle to guide their daughter's future.
Although this premise may sound like dozens of other "coming of age" movies, the film exudes an innocence and charm often lacking in many big mainstream productions. That's likely because this is a work of love, driven by writer/director Norm Hunter who has children of his own and is a real life soccer coach. Leah Pipes is also a real player of the game, which adds an additional aura of authenticity to the many soccer scenes in this film.
Walking the fine line that so many teen targeted movies stumble from, Her Best Move doesn't patronize young audiences. Nor does it try to be cool by depicting adults as clowns or idiots. Instead, this film provides a level playing field where teens, parents and teachers are all contributors to a great story with a powerful message about choosing your priorities, making it a great play for your home theater.