A bout of inspiration arrives courtesy of directors Corinne van der Borch &Tone Grøttjord-Glenne in Sisters on Track from Netflix. A crowd-pleasing documentary, the film chronicles the coming-of-age story of the Sheppard sisters: Tai, Rainn, and Brooke, who foundd themselves propelled into the national spotlight in 2016 with their first-time wins at the Junior Olympics. The resulting media storm landed the trio on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids as "Sports Kids of the Year," and they were able to move from shelters into their own home.
The film offers a rare intimate glimpse into a tight-knit Brooklyn family's journey to recover from trauma and tragedy. With the support of their mother, Tonia Handy, and the guidance of coach Jean Bell, the Sheppard sisters aim to beat the odds, dream big, and aspire to higher education as they are finding their voices as athletes and students – all while processing the growing pains of adolescence. At the heart of the story is the bond between sisters and an entire community of women. They pass the baton of self-empowerment and hope through track and field, from one generation to another.
Sans Personal Best and Chariots of Fire, the movie buff cannot think of any track and field films that were memorable. However, I am always open to a good documentary, so I prepared to view Sisters on Track with an open mind. One of the first things that caught my mind about the documentary was the strength and resilience of the girl's mother. When a family finds out that humanitarian and filmmaker Tyler Perry will pay their rent for two years, they do not see it as a way out. However, the mom quickly acknowledges that she still needs to plan for when the time is up.
I also loved how the film juggles all three of the girls equally over the three years that the doc takes place, and no one is seen as a star. The heart of the documentary, though, is the girl's track coach Jean Bell. Coach Bell is not here for any foolishness but still is kind when it comes to being a mama bear for her girls. Should we ever get a film based on the sisters, this would be a great career restart for Monique.
Featuring a great message about adversity and always having a backup plan, Sisters on Track is worth the view.
Final Grade: A