Story

Chasing Great is a biographical documentary that tells the story of the rise to fame of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby captain Richie McCaw. At the age of 34 McCaw decided to retire at the end of the 2015 season, but he wanted to go out with a bang by winning back-to-back World Cups. This was a feat that no team or captain had every achieved.

The documentary follows McCaw in his final season as captain of the All Blacks, as well as providing a personal insight into Richie’s private life. He grew up on a small farm in New Zealand surrounded by family, then went to boarding school, won a place on the All Blacks team, and finally became captain.

The documentary features anecdotes and reflections from family, friends and past coaches as well as showing Richie’s struggle to cope with World Cup losses. It highlights the way his response to personal failure made him stronger.

Themes

Sport and competition; fame; coping with failure

Violence

Chasing Great has some sporting and personal violence. For example:

  • The movie includes snippets of real rugby games with rough tackles and knocks. Some of this is shown in slow motion. A player is seen lying unconscious on the playing field following a rough tackle. Throughout the movie there are brief images of players with bloody cuts to their faces, noses and ears, and sometimes with blood running down their faces.
  • In one scene a past coach describes how young McCaw knocked him to the ground in a tackle. The coach feared that he’d broken a rib, excused himself and went home.
  • An All Blacks coach talks about when McCaw first joined the All Blacks. There was some tension between McCaw and the other players, and players warned the coach that they were getting close to bashing McCaw. The coach told the players that if anyone bashed McCaw he would bash them.
  • When the team is in the changeroom after losing a world cup, someone describes the changeroom as having the smell of death. Someone asks, ‘Has anyone fallen on their sword yet?’

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Chasing Great has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, one scene shows a fictional photograph of a giant caterpillar with McCaw’s head.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Chasing Great has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, in one scene McCaw talks about feeling lonely at boarding school and wanting to go home.

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Chasing Great has some sexual references. For example, McCaw talks about his relationship with a female sports personality and how they manage their relationship and sporting lives.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Chasing Great shows some use of substances. For example:

  • There’s one brief image of a family member with a serving tray of full champagne glasses. No-one is seen drinking the champagne.
  • There’s a brief image of supporters drinking beer at a game.
  • In one scene showing a victory celebration, players shake bottles of beer and spray it over each other.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Chasing Great has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Chasing Great is an insightful documentary about Richie McCaw’s drive to succeed, and the personal challenges and pressures he overcomes to become the captain of the All Blacks rugby team.

The movie is full of positive life messages for everyone, not just sports players and fans. Rugby fans of all ages are likely to find the movie entertaining and interesting, but it will probably lack interest for younger children, who might also be upset by the scenes of injury on the rugby field. Therefore we don’t recommend this movie for children under 10 years, and we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 10-12 years.

These are main messages from this movie:

  • Chase your dreams and never give up trying.
  • Make the most of every opportunity that comes along.
  • Competitive sports can help in developing a sense of identity.
  • Always look for bigger challenges as you develop.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include perseverance, self-motivation and leadership.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like masculinity and emotions. For example, McCaw talks about how men who come from his farming background are discouraged from expressing their emotions. You could ask your children how they think this might affect boys and men.