Overcomer

Directed by Alex Kendrick
Sports Film

What do you do when what you believe you value becomes hidden by the things that are actually valuable to you? When the person you believe you are and the person you’re becoming require separate paths, and you don’t realize you’re not on the path you claim, but the path you chose? What do you do when who you believe you are and who you are becoming diverge?

This is the premise of the film Overcomer, a Christian drama written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick and directed by Alex Kendrick, released in 2019. Speaking about the themes in the film, Alex Kendrick said, “Our culture wants to say identity is what you feel, or what culture says about you, or some status, job status, financial status . . . [a]nd all those things can change. So, who are you when what you are known for is stripped away?” With that perspective, Overcomer tells the story of how the intersection of three people’s lives changes each of them and brings them closer to God.

John Harrison is the basketball coach of a local high school in a small town that is losing its economic and academic footing when the large manufacturing plant closes and moves. All John has left is a cross country team with one team member: a sophomore orphan with asthma. With some encouragement from a former track star, Thomas Hill, who he meets by chance in a hospital room, John takes on the track “team.” He also learns that what he claims is important and what is actually important to him are misaligned.

Coach Harrison’s runner is 15 year-old Hannah, who was abandoned by her drug-addicted father after her mother passed away, and is being raised by her grandmother. She has little sense of identity, believing she was abandoned because she was unloved and unwanted. As she works with John Harrison, and eventually with John’s track star friend, Hannah learns not only how to be competitive in her sport, but also that her real identity is centered on things that are greater than her past, her present, or even her future; that she is valued innately because of her inherent worth.

There is someone for every audience member to identify with in Overcomer: married couples, teens, grandparents, teachers, friends, and those who are struggling to find their identity and their worth. This is a film that gives hope and renews faith.

Book Review by Anne