The Main Event Parent Guide
Streaming on Netflix: A sweet, heartfelt family film that manages to avoid being saccharine or syrupy.
Parent Movie Review
11-year-old Leo (Seth Carr) is obsessed with the WWE. While hiding from some bullies, he discovers a magical wrestling mask that grants him super strength. Knowing his family needs the money, he secretly enters a wrestling competition. With the help of his supportive grandmother (Tichina Arnold) and friends, Leo will discover what true strength is.
I’m just gonna come right out the gate and say it - I really enjoyed this movie. I know very little about wrestling (what I do know I learned from Nacho Libre), but you don’t need to understand the sport to appreciate what The Main Event is doing. The themes are really what set it apart from most family fare, with the main message being that mental and emotional strength are more important than physical strength. The movie also encourages kids to step out of their comfort zones and try things that scare them. And as an added bonus, there is a subplot that revolves around Leo’s family in which both Leo and his father (Adam Pally) learn how to open up and trust each other.
I have to give a shout out to the single dad representation. It’s hard to find media aimed at children that depicts single fathers, but this film does a great job. Steve, Leo’s father, is a newly single dad working two jobs to make ends meet. He admits to being exhausted, to being sad, to struggling with the challenges of parenting. Through it all, he’s trying to be a good dad, and learning how to communicate better with his son. Both Leo and Steve learn to face sad emotions and talk about them with each other, which is a great message for any audience.
In terms of content, if you’ve ever watched professional wrestling, you’ll be relieved to know that this is the toned-down version of the theatrically violent sport. There are no injuries, no blood, and most of the violence is in the context of competition, not anger or cruelty. The fighting is so over-the-top that even a young viewer will be able to see that it is outside the realm of reality.
The Main Event is sweet and heartfelt without straying into sappy territory. The fun is there but, with the exception of one fart joke, it doesn’t resort to juvenile toilet humor, as this genre tends to do. The plot is ridiculous, but the movie knows that and plays into it, sometimes making jokes about how unbelievable some of the events are.
Overall, The Main Event is a great choice for family viewing, unless you have some small daredevils that might be tempted to try to recreate some of the moves. But, really, what is a preschooler if not a tiny wrestler?Directed by Jay Karas. Starring Adam Pally, Tichina Arnold, Lucie Guest . Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release April 10, 2020. Updated April 11, 2020
Watch the trailer for The Main Event
The Main Event
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Main Event rated TV-G? The Main Event is rated TV-G by the MPAA
Violence: Wrestling violence throughout. This is the over the top, beyond belief, zero blood or injury type violence that you see in the WWE. A man attempts to rob a diner. Some bullies push other kids around. An angry wrestler breaks some windows and objects.
Sexual Content: Reference to a wrestler’s body being sexy. Wrestlers of both genders wear revealing wrestling outfits.
Profanity: Many uses of terms of deity. A few minor expletives, but they are lyrics in a song in the background, so if you don’t have subtitles on you might not notice. Some name calling, such as “you loser”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None
Page last updated April 11, 2020
The Main Event Parents' Guide
Why was Steve having a hard time talking to Leo about his mom? Why can it be hard to talk about emotions with other people?
What does Steve mean when he talks about being strong in the mind and the heart? How can we build mental and emotional strength?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
That you should be careful what you wish for is a recurring theme in stories for all ages. Tween readers might enjoy the eerie Scottish adventures of four siblings in L.L. Helland’s The HellandBack Kids: Be Careful What You Wish For.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone introduces readers to the young orphan who is startled to learn that he’s a wizard. J.K. Rowling’s magical series about The Boy Who Lived is a surefire hit with readers of all ages.
If your young wrestling fan just can’t get enough of the sport, turn their attention to reading about the WWE. Brian Shields and Dean Miller provide extensive detail in their WWE 35 Years of Wrestlemania.
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The Peanut Butter Falcon tells the story of a young autistic man who yearns to be a professional wrestler. He runs away from the institution where he lives and goes on a road trip that takes him places he didn’t expect.
Jack Black stars as a monk who’s desperate to make money to buy food for the hungry orphans he feeds. In Nacho Libre, he dons a mask and some stretchy pants and heads to the local wrestling ring to earn some prize money.
A fourteen year old foster kid named Billy Batson unexpectedly obtains powers when he’s given a magical staff in Shazam!