What defines you, and what gives you purpose? Your job? Your family? Your country? And if any of those were taken away, where would you be? The question makes us uncomfortable because it requires us to imagine being in an uncomfortable place.
John Harrison (writer/director Alex Kendrick) is the basketball coach at a Christian high school. After suffering a heartbreaking end-of-season loss, Harrison promises his team that next year is in the bag. Everything looks hopeful until the factory that supports their small town moves out, taking the local families with it. Without a team, Harrison is struggling in his ability to provide for his family and wrestling to define who he is.
When the school principal (Priscilla C. Shirer) recruits him to coach the cross-country team, Harrison resists. Running isn’t a real sport. It’s punishment. A single, solitary student shows up for tryouts, and she’s asthmatic. Harrison is at a total loss. He still doesn’t have a team—just one runner. “One runner matters,” the principal reminds him. It’s true, and in more ways than they realize.
The one runner is Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson). A poor girl in a poor town, she doesn’t see much of a future for herself. Believing her parents dead and with no sense of who they were, Hannah knows nothing about herself except that she loves to run. Hannah lives with her grandmother (Denise Armstrong), a caring woman who is often absent as she struggles to provide for their needs. She does her best to teach Hannah right from wrong, but her own moral failings drive them apart.
Meanwhile, in the local hospital there’s a severely diabetic man named Thomas (Cameron Arnett). Though he can’t leave his bed, he’s a leader and a guide. And even though he is blind, he helps Harrison and Hannah see who they really are.
When Facing the Giants burst onto movie screens back in 2006, the Kendrick brothers became names in Christian households all over the country. Overcomer is their most complex film to date, with impressive camera work and multiple plot threads to weave together into a unified whole. No easy task. Sometimes the brothers stumble in their effort to make a certain point or connect a required dot. At times the movie feels like they stitched together a two-part TV episode. But like Hannah, the filmmakers eventually find their pace, cross the finish line, and achieve their goals. (Provident)
About the Author
Trevor Denning is an alumni of Cornerstone University and lives, lifts weights, and spends too much time in his kitchen in Alma, Mich. His first short story collection is St. George Drive and Other Stories.