By Ajibare Abioye
OVERCOMER is the sixth movie from the Kendrick Brothers, who have been popularly known for each of their five previous movies, all great films. I’m talking about Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), Courageous (2011) and War Room (2015). These are all movies I would strongly recommend you watch.
One remarkable thing about the Kendrick Brothers is just how far they have come from the days of Flywheel. This is a group that started from the church and has grown into blockbuster status while retaining the Christian core of their message. Their last movie, War Room, blessed the world, and became a box office hit to become the 4th highest-grossing Christian film in the United States, as at April 2019. Hence, their next movie was eagerly anticipated and last year, I found out that they had OVERCOMER slated for an August 2019 release. So, how was the movie? For me, Overcomer was long overdue, and it seems like the years used in crafting this movie have paid off because the film was deeply-spiritual, highly-impactful and entertaining.
The story is about John Harrison, played by Alex Kendrick, whose life changes overnight when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are flushed down the drain of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin to move away, John has to come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal (played by Priscilla Shirer) to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and his worth is put into question, until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Unlike some of their previous movies, Overcomer began a bit slowly and built its story steadily. At a point in time, I was afraid the movie was about to get a bit boring (as though that were possible for a Kendrick Brothers movie); it then sprang into life with a crescendo that reaches its zenith just at the end. The story was well-crafted and as the movie goes on, you’d become emotionally invested in the characters.
The movie addresses a matter that is a basic yet an essential part of our faith in God – identity. I feel that until this is settled, a Christian would probably never key fully into the abundant life Jesus came to give believers. It’s so important that even when the devil tempted Jesus, the question of identity was brought up: “…if You’re the Son of God…” The first time I watched this movie, I had to stop halfway to meditate about my life and who I really am in Jesus. This is a movie that will ask questions which when answered, would re-focus our direction if we’ve got it wrong in any way.
The introduction of the character of Thomas Hill, played by Cameron Arnett, was a masterful stroke. He subtly drives the deep and high points of this movie. The actors were all good in their roles. Hannah Scott, played by Aryn Wright-Thompson, initially looked like there wasn’t much acting on her path, but that was due to the fact that the narrative during that period was yet to really link her up with Coach Harrison. When she eventually does, she gives a worthwhile delivery of lines and a good performance. She very well portrayed a reserved girl with a heart for Christ.
The end of the story delivers a moment that will make you skip a heartbeat as you watch; it literally stopped me in my tracks. This is a really good movie and it delivers on its promise of being a movie filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humour and a ton of heart.
Later today, we’ll be publishing the last blog post for this year – The Top Ten (Nigerian) Gospel movies of 2019. See you then!
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