John Harrison (played by Alex Kendrick, who also directed the film and co-wrote the script) is a high school basketball coach whose entire season comes to a crashing halt when the local manufacturing plant moves to another city and most of his players move with it. The high school is left with next to no athletes and John nearly loses his job until he finally agrees to coach cross country, even though John doesn’t consider it to be a sport. When only one student shows up to try out for the cross country team, John ends up exclusively coaching Hannah (Aryn Wright-Thompson), who has asthma and a lot of heart.
John is also doing volunteer work at the local hospital. That’s where he meets Thomas (Cameron Arnett), who used to be a championship runner before he got involved in drugs and who is now blind due to diabetes. John eventually discovers that Thomas is actually Hannah’s father, who she was told had died. With the help of John, Thomas, and Principal Brooks (Priscilla Shirer), Hannah tries to find the inner strength to overcome all obstacles and win the state championship.
I usually love inspiring movies but Overcomer just didn’t really work for me. I think I would have liked it better if the movie had just focused on Hannah but instead, it was more about her coach and his family than it was about her. Hannah should have been at the center of the story but instead, it was almost all about John and how upset he was was over having to coach her. Even in the scenes with Thomas, it was more about how the coach felt than how Hannah felt about learning that her father was still alive. Along with being a sports film, Overcomer is also a religious film and it gets pretty preachy. In one scene, the principal teaches Hannah how to pray, which is something that I don’t think many public school official could get away with in real life.
I appreciated the message of Overcomer, about having faith and giving it your all, but the movie otherwise didn’t work for me.