Today’s Prayer Focus

That's What I Am

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for thematic material throughout, language and some bullying.
Moral Rating: not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Kids Family
Genre: Family Drama Comedy
Length: 1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release: 2011
USA Release: April 29, 2011 (limited)
DVD: May 17, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)



Teen Qs—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.


GAY—What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

BULLIES—When someone picks on my child, should I tell him to fight back or turn the other cheek? Answer

teachers and students






Featuring Ed HarrisMr. Simon
Molly Parker … Mrs. Nichol
Randy Orton … Ed Freel
Amy Madigan … Principal Kelner
Chase Ellison … Andy Nichol
See all »
Director Michael Pavone
Producer Samuel Goldwyn Company
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
Nancy Hirami … co-producer
Todd Lewis … line producer
Distributor World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

“I’m a teacher. I’m a singer. I’m a writer.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Set during the mid-1960s, about a bright 12-year-old boy whose English teacher (Harris) pairs him up on a project with the school’s biggest outcast and social pariah, Stanley (‘Big Red’). When Andy watches Stanley fearlessly confront a school bully, a series of events is unleashed that changes the lives of the boys and their teacher. Madigan plays the school’s principal, while Orton portrays the father of the bully who campaigns to get the teacher fired.

12-year-old Andy Nichol (Chase Ellison) is a bright student who, like most kids his age, will do anything to avoid conflict for fear of suffering overwhelming ridicule and punishment from his junior high school peers. Sporting thick orange hair, a head too big for his body and ears too big for his head, ‘Big G’ has been the object of ridicule since grade school. Before long, Andy will learn that there was truly a method behind Mr. Simon’s madness as to why he teamed these two up. As the story unfolds, Mr. Simon finds himself the target of a malicious rumor after Principal Kelner (Amy Madigan) suspends a school bully for brutally beating up a female classmate who he thinks has ‘cooties.’ When Andy watches ‘Big G’ fearlessly confront the school bully, a series of events are triggered, which change the lives of both young men—and their teacher—forever. Much to Andy’s surprise ‘Big G’ is brilliant, kind, tolerant and a decent human being, who has more dignity than anyone Andy has ever encountered.”

Volunteer reviewer needed for this movie

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This is a really good, thought-provoking movie, that brings a lot of laughs to boot! Parents may not want younger children to watch it, because this film covers the delicate subjects of puberty and homosexuality, but it comes from a completely naive and innocent perspective, and might spark (as it did in my family) important discussions among older kids about how dangerous it is to spread rumors without knowing the facts… also, how important it is to show Christ’s light in us by treating everyone with kindness and respect, even if they don’t believe the same things we do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Negative—My wife and I were unprepared for the barrage of on-screen immorality that we would receive from having viewed this film in its entirety. As a matter of fact, the only reason that we finished it was to complete our notes about it.

To sum up my review: I do not recommend this movie to any age group. It is offensive on numerous levels to Christians and non-Christians alike. I had read a synopsis about the movie and decided that it would be a cute movie about kids struggling with bullies in a time period where behavior was cleaner. And, like most movies of its genre, it would have a redeeming ending where lessons were learned by all. I was terribly mistaken.

The child actors used vile language a lot. They were violent towards each other. The Lord’s name was used in vain repeatedly. The girl whom the main character likes has “gone steady with everyone else.” All the boys liked her because she was the most promiscuous. She requires “payment” (in the form of a gift) before she will “go steady” with anyone. She times the boys with a stopwatch, as if payment only buys so much time. The boy’s mother approves of and encourages the boy to “go steady,” though never clarifies what all activities that includes.

The bully’s father (a bully himself) seems to be the only one who has a problem with the teacher being a homosexual, as if anyone who disagrees with the lifestyle is one of these. It paints homosexual behavior as having nothing to do with character.

There is no redemption in the end of the movie. The bullies are still bullies. The girl is still a prostitute in the making. The boy just gains some self confidence and that’s supposed to be enough. And, just when you think that the offensive movie is finally over, the credits also include “where are they now” biographies of several of the characters. This includes the mentioning of illegal drug use and some additional offensive language. Don’t watch the movie. You aren’t missing anything.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Levi, age 32 (USA)

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