“Overcomer” is the story of basketball coach John Harrison.
When the plant in town shuts down, many of the families that make up the private school where he works have to move in order to find work, subsequently taking most of his basketball team with them. He is forced to coach cross country instead, something he knows nothing about.
John is shocked to learn that his only runner is a young, asthmatic, orphan girl named Hannah, not much of a team to work with. Frustrated and worried, a chance meeting finds him in the company of a blind ex-runner, who gives him some tips to help the girl along the way.
As Hannah gets stronger and their bond grows, they discover a surprising connection to this new mysterious coach. Can Hannah overcome all the things holding her back, both in her life and in her sport?
“Overcomer” is the latest film from filmaker Alex Kendrick. As usual, he wrote it, directed it, starred in it, produced it, ran the camera, edited it afterward, delivered it to every theater personally, even served me my popcorn when I got there — I’m pretty sure he even ushered me to my seat.
The Kendrick brothers get better at this every movie they make. Gone are the days of shooting their movies with their home movie camera — everything about this film reflects that of a major movie studio. The writing, directing, acting and even the camera angles and sound editing are absolutely perfect.
Filmmaking is not just a pet project for the Kendricks; it’s something they are extremely good at. And one glance at the rolling credits humorously reveals that it’s something they are very passionate about. The number of family members involved in the making of this film is both hilarious and surprising. It’s inspiring to see someone so fully embrace the purpose they were so clearly made for.
Once again, Alex Kendrick takes the starring role, and he does a great job. His acting skills have grown over the years, and he delivers a believable and heartfelt performance. Shari Wiedmann is sweet and lovable as his wife, and the two make a great team. Aryn Wright-Thompson is adorable as innocent young Hannah, giving a complex performance, for one so young. Cameron Arnett is perfect as the blind stranger.
For a group of relative newcomers, the performances were all solid and emotional.
There is no violence in this movie. No cursing of any sort, either. There’s no nudity and no sexy stuff of any kind. There is some non-graphic talk about drug use and how it has ruined the lives of some of the characters, but it is definitely a cautionary tale. This film could not be more family-friendly, as one would expect from a faith-based film.
When I heard the Kendricks were coming out with a new film, I knew it would be good. Their name is synonymous with excellency in filmmaking. It’s also synonymous with something that’s guaranteed to make this grown man cry.
This film was no exception. Such a heartfelt story of love, forgiveness and redemption caused a mysterious liquid to leak from my eyes more than once. So, bring tissues, no matter who you are.
One of the best things about their style of storytelling is that it’s totally believable. The character finds themselves in situations that we all come up against in our everyday lives. And sometimes, just like the rest of us, they just don’t handle them correctly, even though they’re trying to.
You can watch them making a bad decision and know it’s going to turn out terribly, but you can feel right along with them that they’re doing what they think is best. The complex storylines are accurate and believable, and certainly teach us all something along the way. It’s easy to put yourself in the actors’ shoes, because we have all been in their shoes, or in a similar situation.
I hope the Kendricks make many more movies, for years to come. I will go see every one. These are the stories we need coming out of Hollywood.
I give it a tearful 8/10.
Safe and entertaining for all ages.
Side note: In a rare instance, the trailers for this movie kept so much of the story back. In a day where every preview reveals the entire plot of the movie, this one is so much more complex than the commercials ever reveal. There are lots of surprises awaiting in the full version, which is a refreshing surprise, these days.
Rating: PG for thematic elements
Run time: 119 inspiring minutes