SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story Parent Guide
This joyful documentary will, in the hackneyed phrase, restore your faith in humanity.
Parent Movie Review
Every superhero needs an origin story. For SpiderMable, it begins with cancer.
At four years of age, Mable Tooke is diagnosed with leukemia, requiring three years of radiation and chemotherapy. While in hospital, Mable becomes aware of Spider-Man and starts watching the vintage animated TV series. The idea that a superhero has radioactive blood – just like her and other cancer patients – intrigues her and she develops her own superhero persona. In the words of her mother, Lisa Tooke, “SpiderMable is an escapist fantasy where Mable has the power to control her life and help others. It speaks to how helpless she felt. Superheroes can fight villains. Only a doctor can fight cancer. Mable wanted to be able to fight for herself.”
In 2015, the now-six-year-old Mable is put in touch with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Working with cosplayers, musicians, politicians, and the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, the charity dreams up a plan. They are going to give Mable an entire day of fighting crime with Spider-Man.
This is the point at which the movie really takes off. Mable is a firecracker of a kid, full of energy, confidence, and radiant joie de vivre. Watching her charm the mayor, police chief, and the residents of Edmonton is irresistible. And watching people abandon their everyday activities to support the blonde dynamo is heartwarming. In fact, this movie is one of the few that has ever made me cry happy tears. It’s impossible not to watch this joyfully emotional film without tearing up, even just a little bit.
Spider-Mable’s activities soon go viral, earning national news coverage and global social media clicks. With her newfound celebrity, Spider-Mable becomes a fundraising phenomenon, and as the face of the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual daffodil campaign, leads the way to a haul in excess of a million dollars.
Were this documentary to end here, it would be a touching, inspiring film. But credit to director Kelly Wolfert, this production goes further and follows Mable until she’s ten years old. This is long enough to see Mable contend with the medium-term side effects of cancer therapy. We also watch as the articulate young girl starts to grapple with where Spider-Mable ends and Mable begins. Questions of identity can be complicated and when these issues are played out in public, the stakes are even higher.
If you are wondering about showing this doc to your kids, you can be assured that there is no negative content. Little kids might be bored but there’s nothing to worry about here. To the contrary, this film offers viewers of all ages the chance to learn from a pint-sized role model who has a lot to teach about gratitude, courage, community service, and reaching our potential. Throw in depictions of a stable, loving family and responsible parents, and this movie is a home run.
Of all the movie’s themes, the most powerful comes from Mable’s own dedication to making life better for others. As she considers life post-SuperMable, she says, “Clothing doesn’t make the superhero. The things they do makes the superhero. Because not all superheroes have powers. Look at a fireman. He doesn’t have powers but he helps people… It’s my responsibility to help out the community and pay back what they gave me.”Directed by Kelly Wolfert. Starring Mable Tooke, Lisa Tooke, Neil Tooke. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release April 27, 2021. Updated April 26, 2021
Watch the trailer for SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story
SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story
Rating & Content Info
Why is SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story rated Not Rated? SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There is a pretended story about an abduction and rescue. There is no real violence.
Sexual Content: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated April 26, 2021
SpiderMable: A Real Life Superhero Story Parents' Guide
If you want more information about the charities mentioned in this movie, you can find their websites here:
Similar charities in other countries include:
If you would like to donate to research into treating leukemia, you can check out these websites:
Canadian Cancer Society: Research in Leukemia
Related home video titles:
For another documentary about an exceptional young woman who used personal tragedy to make a massive contribution, watch He Named Me Malala.
The students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have overcome tragedy to advocate for policy changes that will keep students safe. Their stories are told in two documentaries, Parkland Rising and Us Kids.