By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
While there have been a ton of football, basketball and baseball inspirational sports movies made, it’s finally nice to see something different, like “The Miracle Season”
from director Sean McNamara, whose work includes the superb, 2011 faith based drama, “Soul Surfer.”
“The Miracle Season” is based on the true story of the Iowa City West High School girl’s volleyball team. They banded together after tragedy struck the team right before their new season began and as they sought to defend their state championship from the previous year.
Although “The Miracle Season” has a syrupy “Hallmark” feel and tugs relentlessly at the old heartstrings, resistance is futile. This is a certified two hankey weeper that really does earn its tears through exceptional and heartwarming performances from its stand out cast.
Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh, TV’s “Chicago P.D”) is one of the perkiest, vibrant and likeable high schoolers you could ever meet. She’s the star setter and team captain for the Iowa City West Trojans volleyball team and just being around her is a positive experience.
Much of Caroline’s charm and personality comes from her equally affable, surgeon father Ernie (a fantastic William Hurt, TV’s “Condor”) and her mother Ellyn (Jillian Fargay, TV’s “Life Sentence”) who is dying of cancer.
Caroline is also best friends with her teammate Kelley (Erin Moriarity, TV’s “Pillow Talk”) who is a solid player, but could be even better if she’d develop more confidence.
Caroline and Kelley have known each other since kindergarten and have been pretty inseparable ever since.
So when Caroline is killed in a moped accident in 2011, it devastates Kelley, the team and rocks their close-knit community.
As if that weren’t heartbreaking enough, Ellyn dies shortly after and it tears Ernie (Hurt) apart.
It’s hard to imagine anyone being interested in playing volleyball under such trying circumstances, but the girl’s determined coach Kathy Bresnahan (a fine Helen Hunt, “I Love you Daddy”), gives her best motivational speech with hopes of convincing the girls that Caroline would have wanted them to play and reach for another championship.
They give it a shot with Kelley starting as setter, but the results are rather disastrous.
What can bring the Iowa City West Lady Trojans to believe in themselves again and become champions against all odds?
The answer may surprise you and “The Miracle Season” will undoubtedly move you.
Be sure to stay for all of the movie's end credits. There's footage of the real Caroline Found, the team and coach along with others talking about how the star player inspired so many people.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Watch This Trailer For "THE MIRACLE SEASON"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.