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The Ron Clark Story

By J. Byron Dean

 

Air Date: August 13, 2006 on TNT

TV Rating: TV-PG-L
Staring: Matthew Perry, Hannah Hodson, Brandon
Smith, Ernie Hudson, Bren Eastcott
Genre: Drama with comedic moments, True story

Recommended Age: 8+

Sex: green

Language: green

Violence: yellow

Overall PTC Rating: green

 

The Ron Clark Story tells the real-life saga of a North Carolina grade school teacher with an amazing record of success with students; his unique teaching style brings out the best in even the worst students and he tests his mettle in one of the toughest classrooms in America. An exceptionally inspiring movie, The Ron Clark Story is suitable for family viewing and for children 8-years old and up.

 

In the title role, Matthew Perry steps away from his comfortable, and much loved, image of Chandler Bing from Friends to bring us into the world of a gifted teacher, Ron Clark. Having achieved great success with students in his local school system, Ron believes that he can do much more good outside of his small home town, so he moves to New York City, hoping to teach underprivileged kids in the inner city.  But being Caucasian is a drawback in Harlem and none of the New York City public schools will hire him.  Here Clark exhibits one of his strongest traits: he never gives up, not on his students and not on getting hired.  He knows he can make a difference if given the chance. Destiny intervenes one day when he observes a teacher getting rough with a student who is trying to leave campus.  The teacher fights with the school's principal and quits, giving Clark the opportunity to let his availability be known.  At first he is ignored but finally the principal decides to give him a chance.  He is given a class that includes what everyone considers to be the "losers," the worst students in the school.  They have the lowest grades, are the most unruly, and the least achieving.  But Ron Clark sees potential in every child and will not give up on them. 

 

The steps he takes, the approaches he makes, the energy he extends and the devotion he shows produce a wonderful outcome.  He reaches the children that everyone, including their parents, had written off.  He successfully brings out their strengths: the artist, the scientist, the math wiz.  Best of all he makes each of them aware of their own self-worth.  He gives them more than an education and a desire to keep on learning; he gives each one the knowledge that they do matter, and that when they put their hearts and minds to it, they can achieve anything.

 

There is very little offensive content in this movie. The only swear words are "lazy ass" and "damn," each said only once. There is one moment of violence involving a foster father beating his foster son, though the actions are off screen.   In the following scene Clark finds the boy, with blood on his face, in an alley.  Later the boy is shown with a cast on his arm.

 

In all The Ron Clark Story is full of redeeming, positive messages and values. The PTC gives this film an over-all green rating.


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