Born to Win is another one of those movies you hope everyone sees. This true story is a tearjerker yet leaves you with hope and a desire to make more of your life—to become a winner.
Leon Terblanche—played by Greg Kriek (Momentum), and little Leon played by James Reardon—knew fear and abuse at a young age. With the exception of a short season of happiness in the modest home of “Mama” (Sylvia Mdunyelwa-Kobus), Leon’s life was miserable—so much so that by the time he was a teen, his heart had become callous.
But the camaraderie of college life brushes the hardness aside especially when he falls in love with Elmarie—played by Leoné Pienaar (Break Away). When the couple marry and give birth to a daughter, life seems promising. At least for a time.
But Leon’s battles are not over, and when hardships arise, so do his inner demons. It will take a miracle to save his marriage. And another to save the life of his daughter, Briggitte (Marié Cronjé).
The story takes place in South Africa in the apartheid era yet in Mama’s home, her son (Zuki Sigwela) and Leon become like brothers with no regard for color. Another interesting element is Leon’s work among physically disabled kids. He is confronted with their own struggles in light of their handicaps, many of which are the result of injustice.
Not until Leon reckons with his own hurts through Christ can he offer anything meaningful for the hurts of others.
I could criticize a few things in this movie such as the fact that the Terblanches sit in the front row of church on their first visit (most people would feel self-conscious), but then if they weren’t in the front, drama would be lost. Artistic license wins. Or I could mention that the voice used for God is a tad cliché, but then again I’m not the one who heard it: Leon Terblanche is. The bottom line is that the story is superb and all the better because it is true.
Written and directed by Frans Cronjé and produced by the same producer as Faith Like Potatoes, which sold more than 2.2 million DVDs in 17 languages worldwide, Born to Win will likely soar to the same heights and become another winner. (No pun intended.)
Janey DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © February 2016