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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

Review: "Overcomer" has Strong Message of Faith

The sixth feature film from the Kendrick Brothers is sure to resonate with Believers.

Alex Kendrick (2nd from right) and Shari Rigby pray in a scene from "Overcomer."

Overcomer is the most anticipated Christian movie of the year and it hits theaters nationwide today. From the brother team of Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, the movie focuses on the importance of finding our identity in Christ and does so in a very direct way that faith-based movie fans are sure to cheer.

Co-written by Stephen and Alex, the film is set in a small town that loses one of its main employers. That prompts the exodus of many residents, including students at the Christian high school where John Harrison - played by Alex - teaches history and coaches basketball. As his best players move away one by one, his problems are compounded by having to now also coach the crosscountry team - a team that consists of a single runner who has asthma. Questioning his self-worth, John takes out his mounting frustration on his family.

Aryn Wright-Thompson on set during filming of "Overcomer." Image: Alex Kendrick/Instagram.

His eyes are opened anew to his faith, however, through the loving influence of his wife Amy, played by Shari Rigby, and the convicting efforts of a man he meets in the hospital; that's a part played very convincingly by Cameron Arnett. John is then able to reach out to others, including the aforementioned asthmatic runner, Hannah Scott, portrayed by Aryn Wright-Thompson in her silver-screen debut.

A troubled girl from a broken family, she eventually comes to the Lord in a scene with lead actress - and real-life evangelist - Priscilla Shirer. That is one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel we can recall in a movie in recent years and the faithful will love it, though it may be a bit much for any unbelievers who turn out for this one.

And that, it seems to us, is the rub with this picture. It features a very strong Christian message of love, forgiveness and redemption and is certain to play well with the traditional faith-based audience, but we don't see it carrying much drawing power with a secular audience, which could limit the box office impact of the film. Before we saw it, we thought it might bring in as much as $13 million on opening weekend, but we're less sure now and even the studio is forecasting only $6 million, while some of the experts are going as low as $4.5 million.

That would be unfortunate, because Overcomer has much to recommend itself by. The cast is good and the principal actors - Kendrick, Shirer, Rigby, Arnett, Wright-Thompson - are all Believers. The cinematography's top-notch and the script's well-written - par for the course with the Kendrick Brothers - weaving multiple threads into one focused and overarching narrative that points to Christ as the answer. And though there is some heavy subject matter, it is judiciously leavened with moments of humor and tenderness.

There are not many negatives from our perspective. The storyline and some of the plot points are a bit predictible and a scene or two slightly over-wrought, but not to the degree that they detract from the picture. We rate Overcomer an 8.5 out of 10 and recommend you see it this weekend.


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