Written by 5:05 pm What we reviewed

Overcomer

Overcomer is a faith-based sports drama from Christian filmmaker Alex Kendrick, who also stars. Kendrick’s work improves with every film, and he deserves his seat at the head of the faith-based film table. His latest entry is well written, well made and well enacted.

High school basketball coach John Harrison and his team face an uncertain future when their town’s largest manufacturing plant shuts down unexpectedly. The school’s principal (played by Priscilla C. Shirer) wants him to coach the cross country team. John doesn’t even think running is a real sport, and the only student who tries out is Hannah (Aryn Wright-Thompson), a transfer student whose parents are dead, who lives with her grandmother Barbara (Denise Armstrong), and who, more pertinent to long-distance running, has asthma.

As hundreds of people move away, John aka Coach Harrison, reluctantly agrees to coach cross-country, a sport he doesn’t even like. His outlook soon changes when he meets Hannah, an unlikely runner who pushes herself to the limit. Inspired by the words and prayers of a new friend, he starts to train Hannah, an asthmatic, for the biggest race of her young life.

Through a chance meeting at a hospital, where John is visiting a fellow parishioner with his church’s pastor, the coach just happens to discover Thomas (Cameron Arnett).

During a later visit, John learns that Thomas, blind and having more health issues on account of diabetes, is actually Hannah’s long-believed dead father.

As Coach Harrison tries to adjust to his new, minimised role, he sees something special in this new student athlete. A memorable scene has Thomas asking Coach Harrison if he actually prayed for him after promising to do so – a habit Christians have. Hannah’s big training montage – which is to be expected, is intercut with her doing a Bible study.

The story’s central theme is forgiveness, which is demonstrated on many levels — the greatest of which is God’s atonement of man’s sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Other themes include compassion, humility, and communication.

The movie’s purpose is evangelical, and a student who feels tormented by her parents’ poor decisions finds immediate comfort once she’s saved. There’s no sex, swearing, or violence in this message movie, but it does deal with drug addiction.

You don’t have to be Christian to watch it but it has a strong Christian viewpoint. The movie inspires others to view God as our Father and to overcome difficulties in life – by keeping our eyes focused on God.

Overcomer does exactly what most would expect from a Christian film: It focuses on curbing any hypocrisies in churchgoing families and demonstrates how to convert lost souls to followers of Jesus. But that doesn’t mean the story unspools the way you think.

Overcomer is a great movie for teenagers to understand that God can help you through any circumstance. The positive message was one that every teenager should have access to. It’s also a great example of teenagers being able to talk out their problems with adults, which happens far less often than it should these days.

It is a wonderful, uplifting, and powerful movie. Kendrick’s hit it out of the park again. On the whole, the movie will renew your faith, give you hope and is a testimony to the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

Another inspiring movie for families, from the Kendricks.

Rating: 8/10

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