Life changes overnight for Coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future. After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife Amy meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.
The Kendrick brothers have done it again, and the latest in a series of films by them is a winner! Joining the ranks of Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous and others, Overcomer is aptly titled, giving us an unlikely hero in Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson), a teen girl with a troubled past but who can run—and run fast. She lives with her grandmother, steals items like headphones and cell phones, and is unhappy. But she is about to meet Coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick), and her world is about to change forever.
When Harrison’s high school basketball stars move away, he is left with no team to coach. But Principal Olivia Brooks (Priscilla C. Shirer) asks him to coach the cross-country team, and he reluctantly agrees. There is one problem: the team has only one runner – Hannah. To add another challenge, Hannah has asthma. Hannah never knew her father, who left years ago, and, according to Hannah’s grandmother, he was a drug addict and no good. But her father was a fast runner, and Hannah inherited his runner’s genes. She thinks her father is dead, but in a twist of fate Coach Harrison visits a man in the hospital and learns he is Hannah’s father—diabetic and blind, but very much alive.
Coach Harrison and his wife Amy (Shari Rigby) are faced with a dilemma: do they tell Hannah her father isn’t dead as her grandmother told her? Harrison and Amy are both Christians, and their influence begins to rub off on Hannah. When Hannah’s dad learns she is near and a runner like he was, he longs to see her.
This movie contains all the mixtures that make a movie great—solid acting, a good story, drama, and some dashes of humor thrown in. When Harrison first takes on coaching the cross-country team, he decides to run to prove to his wife it isn’t such a big deal. At the end of his run he is lying on the ground, out of breath, in pain, and asking, “Why does anyone want to do this?” It’s a delicious and funny moment in the movie.
When a movie is very good, we will see growth in the characters, and Hannah’s character, without giving all away, undergoes some major changes for the better. The film features moments that will make you tear up, laugh, and even applaud. A big race near the conclusion of the movie will have you cheering! And Hannah’s father plays a role in a way that is both surprising and uplifting. The movie contains a strong message of forgiving others and the theme of how we see our identity in this life. This wonderful film has earned our Dove Seal for Ages 12+.