Even the title is a spoiler.
Synopsis: In the inspiring true-life drama THE MIRACLE SEASON, one girl’s story leads her team and town to victory. In Iowa, the girls’ volleyball team, from Iowa City West High School, brings their community together, and Caroline Found–or “Line,” as she nicknamed herself–is the inspiration for their 2011 season. The 17-year-old Line is vivacious and life-loving, compassionate and caring,making sure kids don’t eat alone in the lunchroom and that everyone gives their all at volleyball games. Line is her team’s captain, helping coach Kathy “Coach Brez” Bresnahan rally everyone together to repeat their championship win from 2010. Then, in August 2011, as her senior year is about to begin, Line is in an accident that leaves her team, her school, and her father, Ernie, heartbroken by their loss. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Helen Hunt, Erin Moriarty, and William Hurt
Writers: Elissa Matsueda and David Aaron Cohen
Director: Sean McNamara
Rating: PG (Canada/United States)
Running Time: 101mins
For showtimes and more, check out The Miracle Season on movietimes.com.
True life sports films tend to follow the same formula with the only difference being the sport and this film was no different. This time around, the Iowa City West High School girl’s volleyball team were forced to rally around the unfortunate death of their captain, Caroline Found (Danika Yarosh), in order for them to repeat as state champions. It’s a sports film so the end result is inevitable, even to those who are unfamiliar with the story in which the film is based.
The film is so predictable to the point of annoyance that you’re just waiting for the finals to happen. There was absolutely nothing new here story wise and everything felt rushed and also drawn out for whatever reason, watching the team, including coach Kathy “Coach Brez” Bresnahan (Hunt) and Caroline’s best friend Kelly (Moriarty), rally around Caroline’s death. They eventually got out of whatever funk they were in, adopting the mantra “Live Like Line” as inspiration to get them through the season. Ultimately, it was nowhere near as gripping as it could have been as the drama and sports scenes were often at odds with one another.
The main problem with the film wasn’t necessarily the premise itself but rather the inspiration for the premise. The story made it difficult to care about Caroline as the film failed to establish why we should care about her as a character over her limited screen time. There was little sense of her importance to her team, her city, and her family, including her father Ernie (Hurt). The only thing that defined her was her free spiritedness which made her annoying more than anything else.
What made this such a chore to watch, other than the stale and underdeveloped characters, an unoriginal and rushed story full of sports film cliches, and mediocre writing, was how forced a lot of it was. It wanted us to care on an emotional level without giving us any reason to do so. The pacing was just all over the place which at times made the film feel even longer than its 101 minute running time. The volleyball scenes were actually decent, despite the obvious foreshadowing camera, but the film had to ruin them by playing pop music overtop of them.
The acting was okay throughout but all the characters were thin at best. Hunt as Bresnahan was the best of the leads, however, there wasn’t all that much to her character. Moriarty was wooden at times as Kelly while never giving us a reason to get emotionally invested in her character. Hurt was fine as Ernie, the grieving father for whom the story pretty much forgot.
Overall, this was a mediocre sports film that is a chore to watch. It brings nothing new to the conversation while offering a slow paced story full of sports cliches and stale characters, and rushed character development. It forces us to care without giving us any reason to do so. It simply tries to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible without giving any consideration to anything along the way.