Overcomer Parent Guide
A squeaky clean Christian film with positive messages that just can't overcome its sometimes awkward and preachy dialogue.
Parent Movie Review
John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) is a high school basketball coach who’s looking forward to having a dream team for the coming season. Then the local plant closes, families move away, and the enrolment at his Christian school is cut in half. Without enough student athletes to play basketball, Coach Harrison becomes the cross country coach – with a team of one.
Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson) is an asthmatic orphan being raised by her no-nonsense grandmother (Denise Armstrong). Her greatest talent is running, which is convenient for making fast getaways when she steals things to squirrel away in a box in her bedroom.
Coach Harrison admires Hannah’s determination, and despite his disappointment over the dissolution of the basketball team, he throws himself into mentoring his young athlete. And then, while accompanying his pastor on a hospital visit, John accidentally meets a patient (Cameron Arnett) with a successful past as a cross country runner, who changes everyone’s lives and stretches their faith.
Overcomer will likely be a big hit with evangelical Christian viewers. With its strong emphasis on salvation through grace and the power of prayer, it confirms their theology. It also offers a strong message about the power and joy that come from forgiveness that can be beneficial for all audiences, religious or not. And the movie is thankfully free of almost all content concerns, aside from brief mentions of drug addiction and occasional raised voices in tense situations. It also features freakishly nice children – clean cut teens, harmonious siblings, and kids who say “Yes, ma’am” to their mothers. Parents can only hope their own youngsters will decide to emulate these unusual attributes…
On the downside, Overcomer struggles with weak acting, a predictable plot and a tendency to get way too preachy. The actors feel sincere but not always effortless: Alex Kendrick seems to be straining a bit from time to time, and Aryn Wright-Thompson is both stiff and emotionally flat. To be fair, it might be difficult to get Oscar-worthy performances from a cast facing a plot that lacks surprises and which sometimes feels like an extended sermon. Delivering a Christian message without sounding pedantic is a challenge that few movies have successfully managed. I am a Bible-reading, Sunday-School-teaching Christian, and I often cringe in faith-based films where the dialogue feels fake, forced, or painfully awkward – all of which occurs in Overcomer. I recognize that it must be an enormous challenge to find a way to depict an inner spiritual journey on the big screen. But I wish this movie had managed to overcome the temptation to make faith neat and tidy instead of acknowledging that it can sometimes be complex and challenging - and that’s where it gains its power.Directed by Alex Kendrick. Starring Alex Kendrick, Shari Rigby, and Priscilla C. Shirer.. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release August 23, 2019. Updated August 23, 2019
Watch the trailer for Overcomer
Rating & Content Info
Why is Overcomer rated PG? Overcomer is rated PG by the MPAA for some thematic elements.
Violence: A man throws a brick on the ground when he gets angry and raises his voice with his wife. An angry woman berates a couple.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is mention of past meth addiction but with no visuals or detail. Mention is made of a woman who died of a drug overdose.
Page last updated August 23, 2019
Overcomer Parents' Guide
How do you frame your identity? Do you base it on your religious or ethical principles? On your family and ethnic background? On your skills and talents? How does the way you see yourself impact your choices?
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If you’re looking for another Christian movie about sports and teens, check out Run the Race. Although Chariots of Fireisn’t an explicitly religious movie, the religious and ethical beliefs of its main characters provide the movie with powerful messages about integrity, courage, and sacrifice. Christianity saves a soldier and athlete when he becomes a POW in World War II in Unbroken.
For inspirational, but not religious, sports movies, check out Coach Carter, a movie about an inner city basketball coach who insists his players learn what it takes to become successful in life; not just on the court. Another coach plays a powerful role in changing the lives of his athletes and the racist attitudes of his community when he integrates a football team in Remember the Titans.
Although most of the action takes place off the gridiron, The Blind Sidetells the moving story of a homeless high school football player and the affluent family that adopts him.