4 Stars – Inspiring
Forgiveness is difficult. This is especially true when our injury is so deep and our sense of being wronged so pervasive that we have experienced that pain for years. Even when the opportunity to be reconciled is offered it is often our anger and distrust that gets in our way. But when we allow God to help us, then forgiveness becomes possible. That truth is powerfully presented in this most recent film by the Kendrick brothers Overcomer.
The main character in Overcomer is fifteen-year-old Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson). Being raised by her grandmother Barbara (Denise Armstrong), Hannah has started attending Brookshire Christian School where John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) coaches basketball. However, as she enters her sophomore year their town of Franklin experiences the devastating closure of their main employer, a large manufacturing plant. The economic loss to the community, and subsequently to Brookshire’s student body, devastates Coach Harrison’s basketball team. He is given the responsibility to coach cross-country. Hannah is the only runner.
As the stage is set for a difficult year, we soon discover this is only the backdrop for the primary struggle around which the story revolves. Without spoiling it, we can say that the moral and spiritual implications are resplendent. As already noted the primary theme is forgiveness, but this is buttressed by themes of: God’s love overcoming sin; personal achievement; a father’s ability to mentor and coach his child to excellence; the need for reconciliation and grace in marriages; and the power of love in families.
For those of us who understand the higher power of God at work in our lives, the truth of this film speaks to our deepest selves and our highest aspirations. To be people of faithful, redemptive, reconciling love, we recognize that we need God’s help. Our best intentions are not enough. Anger and resentment, insecurity and distrust, conflict and isolation are often our natural response to the injuries we experience or cause. But the inspiring truth is that we do not need to live in that place of pain. God has provided a way. We encourage you to see this film and be open to the truth presented.
1. When do you find it difficult to forgive? Where do you turn for help?
2. The simple prayers of faith are powerful in real life but difficult to present on film. Why do you think that is so? Since it is an inward, spiritual reality do spiritual experiences defy filming?
3. Although a film with a Christian message can easily move into a visual parable, what is it about this story that keeps it real?