Overcomer

Our biggest problems are often minuscule when compared to the problems of others.  Sometimes, our most difficult emotional challenges are nothing more than selfish desire standing in the way of God’s clear direction.  We live in a complicated world that frequently requires us to go beyond the superficial to reach the truth.  This is the case for high school basketball coach and history teacher John Harrison.  When his chances for building a winning basketball team fall apart, John is pushed in a new direction – he is called by God for a higher purpose.

As the result of a local manufacturing plant closing and all of his star players moving out of town, John’s chances of victory drift away.   In addition, staff cuts at his school make it necessary for him to coach the cross country team for which he has only one runner, Hannah Scott, who happens to have asthma.  John’s self-pity is pushed aside when he discovers Hannah’s estranged father is a patient in the local hospital.  Hannah, who is being raised by her grandmother, believed both her parents were dead, but it turns out her father is still alive.  The reason for the confusion is Hannah’s grandmother, who hates Hannah’s father, and has therefore perpetuated this lie.  John’s assignment becomes finding a way to reunite Hannah with her father who is now a deeply regretful Christian man fighting a life threating disease.  The stumbling block is of course Hanna’s grandmother, who does not want this reunion to take place.

Overcomer, is a complex story with a beautifully crafted story structure.  Every character is fully developed and plays an important role in the overall drama.  The acting is exceptional, the music is wonderfully crafted, and the complete production is a textbook example of fine filmmaking.  The Kendrick brothers have made several successful faith-based films; Overcomer, in my view, is by far their best effort.  My harshest criticism would be that they are sometimes a little heavy handed in their emotional pandering, but that’s a forgivable overindulgence when it works, and in this case it does.  This is a thoughtful and deeply satisfying film.

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