Published on August 12th, 2016 | by Kira Browdy0
KidPoker: The Documentary
Movie Review: KidPoker: The Documentary
Running Time: 1h 29m
Cast: Daniel Negreanu, Mike Negreanu, Oren Farkash. Alongside the featured cast there are many professional poker players, such as Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst and Phil Ivey; friends; family members and some actors playing reenactments of encounters in Daniel Negreanu’s life.
Today we review a TV film documentary, which follows the life of one of the most famous poker players in the world: Daniel Negreanu. This feature-length documentary follows the pro from his early steps in Canada, time in Toronto and eventual emergence onto the poker scene as a high-stakes player in Las Vegas – where Negreanu became the youngest player to ever win a World Series of Poker bracelet, at just 23.
We’re pleased to be reviewing this film as documentaries are definitely having a moment. We’ve recently reviewed hits like Amy, the tragic life of talented singer Amy Winehouse; Tough Times Make Monkeys Eat Red Peppers, the story of a Guinness World Record attempt to help raise funds in Edinburgh; and Pritchard vs Dainton: The Rise and Falls, which follows the pair’s sudden rise to fame. As audiences, we have a fascination with the human condition. Things that drive us, make us who we are and the situations we all find ourselves in. They’re fascinating, gripping and thought provoking – and KidPoker is no exception.
First shown in 2015 and released on Netflix in 2016, this film was produced by online poker provider PokerStars and directed by Gary Davis and Francine Watson. It is currently available on Netflix in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S. Done in a documentary style, this film tells its story through a series of interviews from family members, friends, fellow poker players and KidPoker (AKA Daniel Negreanu) himself.
At its heart, this is a documentary about following dreams and achieving success against great odds. You don’t have to love poker to enjoy this film. In fact, you could almost take poker out of the equation, if it weren’t for the successes seen by Negreanu throughout his career. His record of $32.4 million in live cash has placed him in the Poker Hall of Fame, and his six-time World Series of Poker bracelet wins is remarkable. In fact, he’s the highest-earning poker player of all time.
Although we can’t completely overlook poker in this film, for some of you it may become the protagonist itself. It’s the catalyst for the events that unfold. Poker is a popular past time with a huge audience. Over 100 million people play poker, in some form, worldwide – that’s more players than they do tennis or golf! So, this film will undoubtedly get you interested in the history of the game, if not the game itself.
However, for us, poker really does take a back seat here to the emotional drive of the film. What is particularly charming is the relationship that Negreanu has with his family, especially his mother, often crediting her for where he is today. In one telling interview with Negreanu’s older brother, Mike, the latter offers a glimpse into Negreanu’s character as a child and where he got his passion for the game of poker and his enthusiasm for life. The use of old pictures and videos helps to carry the story in a heartwarming and humorous way.
KidPoker is quite emotionally charged. You will find it inspirational and entertaining. The film makers take you on a journey with Daniel Negreanu, from his arrogant beginnings, a poker player with an overabundance of confidence, to a man who goes on a journey of self-discovery to find out who he is, and what life really means to him.
All of us want, or hope, to be the very best versions of ourselves. Our lives are a continual pursuit of success or contentment in where we are and who we are. If we’re honest, all of us wonder if we could be doing more for ourselves or others. This film is a glimpse into someone’s personal journey down this path. The documentary makers have done it sensitively, but without leaving out any key moments – be them happy or sad.
Summary: If you need some inspiration to better yourself, then this might be the film for you. This documentary isn’t about becoming the top poker player in the world, it’s about being the very best person you can be. We’d recommend that you ditch the self-help books and give such films a try instead. If you’re a poker player yourself, then you’ll enjoy the appearances from other top poker players such as Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst and Phil Ivey. If you don’t have any interest in poker, then this film will still appeal to those who are interested in personal development and the journeys of others. Be warned, you may end up feeling a certain amount of jealousy towards Negreanu at the start of this documentary, but we’re certain that you’ll end the film with an enormous feeling of respect for him - and the sudden urge to call your mother to tell her you love her.