McFarland, USA tells the story of Mr. White (Kevin Costner), an appropriately named, wisecracking second-chancer who takes a teaching job at the predominantly Latino McFarland High School in California. At first take, the film offers a typical, family-friendly Disney sports movie. Costner is predictable in the role of a football coach who needs to learn some things himself before he can help others. But the movie plays with the formula pleasantly and uses its star well.
Recognizing his students’ talents, Mr. White leaves football and organizes a cross country team. His family comes to value their new, diverse community and relationships even more than their own comfort. The film celebrates the close family relationships and hard work of the Latino community without downplaying the racial realities in the town. The film’s ending, which features the real people portrayed in the story, reinforces its finest effects. (Disney)
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