Overcomer (2019)
A review by Shlomoh Sherman
September 9, 2019

Read about Overcomer On the Internet Movie Data Base

Overcomer (2019)
Plot Synopsis: A high-school basketball coach volunteers to coach a troubled teen in long-distance running.
Director: Alex Kendrick
Stars: Alex Kendrick, Shari Rigby, Aryn Wright-Thompson, Cameron Arnett
Writer: Stephen Kendrick
Plot Keywords: student athlete - running - high school - coach
Taglines: What Do You Allow To Define You?
Genres: Drama | Sport
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG for some thematic elements
Parents Guide: See below
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: August May 23, 2019 (USA)
Filming Locations: Columbus, Georgia, USA
Box Office:
Budget: $5,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $8,146,533, August 25, 2019
Gross USA: $19,321,629
Company Credits: Affirm Films, Provident Films
Studios, New Republic Pictures
Runtime: 119 min
Color: Color


This is not a picture that I would ordinarily see. In fact, I had never heard of it. But Judy, Nancy and Mike wanted to see it so I went.

OVERCOMER is a story, as its title suggests, of overcoming major adversity. There are 3 subplots in which the characters have fallen into despair.

The first story is about a high school sports coach, John Harrison, who has been demoted to coaching cross-country running. To add to his already humiliating despair at being down-graded, only one student shows up for the team. It's Hannah Scott, a teenage girl with asthma. Coach Harrison is concerned that Hannah will become winded if she runs but she assures him that as long as she has her inhaler, she will be able to run without any breathing problems.

The second story is about Hannah. Hannah has been living with her grandmother since she was a baby. The grandmother, Barbara Scott, has told Hannah that her parents passed away when she was a child and that is why she is being raised by her grandmother.

The third story is about Thomas Hill, a blind man whom John Harrison encounters in a hospital visit for a fellow church member. It turns out that Hill is actually Hannah's father who, as a young drug addict, abandoned Hannah shortly after her birth when her mother died. Barbara has obviously not been truthful with Hannah. She bears a hatred toward Hill whom she blames for turning her daughter into an addict and she holds him responsible for the death of Hannah's mother.

The major characters of these stories not only need to overcome their adversities, but more, they need forgiveness; John for dumping on his family after his career failure, Hannah for withholding affection from her friends and school mates, and Hill for the very reasons that Barbara refuses to forgive him.

The movie has an overriding Christian theme as, I believe, the film maker family who wrote, directed, and acted in it are strong in religious faith. Christian faith turns out to be the vehicle for the characters' salvation, not only their heavenly salvation, but perhaps more so for their earthly one as people in need of love and forgiveness.

And true to human nature, forgiveness in this movie is hard to achieve. I am not Christian and so the religious mechanisms used in the film to attain the positive Christian denouement are religiously beyond me. For example, the school principal, Olivia Brooks, helps Hannah to overcome her resentment to her father by coaching her to read and internalize the New Testament book, Ephesians, which explains the spiritual blessings that a believer will attain on his/her acceptance of the gospel message.

But one does not have to be a Christian to appreciate the unfolding happiness that the characters are receiving as a result of their faith. One needs only to find the story inspiring. But inspiration is an ability that one has to aspire to and learn.

The film did inspire me for several reasons.

It is a story of hope when all seems dark and a story of forgiveness, a quality lacking in our current 21st century, American society. Our modern technologies have the ability to make us better human beings, but social media has made us worse. Look at our culture of victimhood and outrage. Nothing is forgivable, even sins or mistakes committed years ago when we were all young and stupid. Look at our political leaders. They have no understanding of repentance or forgiveness.

We are the only species on God's earth who have the ability to forgive. No other creature has this ability. Our closest animal relatives, the chimpanzees don't forgive. Once they establish a hatred toward a member of their pack, that hatred never relents and in most cases, proves deadly.

Forgiveness is a required talent. One must first want to attain to the MADREGA [level] of being able to forgive, or even be able to ask for forgiveness. YOM KIPPUR, the Jewish Day of Atonement will be here shortly and many of us don't even know how to ask for forgiveness on that day.

I'd like all people to forgive for their own mental health, but when I see people, even our leaders, acting like chimpanzees, I see little hope for us.

Beyond the aspect of forgiveness, a second reason that the film inspired me was its "family values" tone. After being bombarded by Hollywood's relentless violence, sex, and profanity, it's great to be able to breathe in wholesomeness in a movie theater.

If what I have written here turns you on, go see the movie. There is so much that I have not said about it so that some surprises will remain for you to anticipate.

As usual, I give an excerpt by a reviewer on IMDB for the film I am reviewing. Here are several:

DShields-2569823 August 2019
Uplifting film!
Wow. I saw this film yesterday and am still replaying scenes in my head. Such a great inspirational film. I wish there were more movies like this available.

Joey Ford-5534223 August 2019
Nice to have a movie I can see with Mom
Great film, fun and engaging. I like that it was clean, like movies used to be. It motivated me. Heck, I might start running again!

KKJMM-3929323 August 2019
Bring your neighbors! Great take-a-ways.
I almost never would give a 10 on a film since I believe that every film could do better, but in this case it is just a really good family film with some great take-a-ways. The acting keeps getting better in their films and the professionalism of the script level is very comparable to any family film produced by Hollywood. The messages and impact were felt deeply by myself. The next day, I am still singing the songs in my head and trying to make some differences in my daily life to take advantage of the advice offered in the movie. I can't understand why many people would vote a '1' and then not even do a review, unless they never even saw the film and are just against anything with references to Jesus in a film. Go see the film and take someone with you.

KUDOS to Alex Kendrick, co-writer and director, who plays coach John Harrison
KUDOS to Aryn Wright-Thompson, who plays Hannah Scott; Overcomer is her first acting role.
KUDOS to Cameron Arnett, who plays Thomas Hill. His past credits include Tyler Perry´s Meet The Browns.
KUDOS to Priscilla Shirer, who plays principal Brooks. Priscilla is an international speaker and Bible teacher. She and her husband Jerry lead Going Beyond Ministries
KUDOS to Denise Armstrong, who plays grandmother Barbara Scott. She has been a wardrobe assistant, hair color specialist, and make-up artist before becoming an actress.

The character "John Harrison" (Alex Kendrick) handling the "bricks" stone after feeling rejected symbolizes the girl, the father and himself. "Rejected" stones which become cornerstones. Psalm 118: 22.
There is a shot of a license plate in the movie that reads "Jay Austin Motors". Jay Austin Motors is the name of the car dealership Alex Kendrick's character owns in the first Kendricks Brothers movie, Flywheel.

Enough Koryn Hawthorne
Even When You're Running Casting Crowns
Overcomer Main Theme Paul Mills
My Revival (featuring Lejuene Thompson) Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers
Fear Is a Liar Zach Williams
A Brand New Creation Paul Mills
Control (Somehow You Want Me) Tenth Avenue North
You've Got This Paul Mills
Known Tauren Wells
Ask Me Who I Am Paul Mills
Wildfire Bonray
Medal Ceremony Paul Mills
Who You Say I Am Hillsong Worship
Overcomer Mandisa


MPAA Rated PG for some thematic elements

Canada:G (Alberta) Canada:G (British Columbia) Canada:G (Manitoba) Canada:G (Quebec) Denmark:7 Mexico:A New Zealand:PG Puerto Rico:PG Singapore:PG South Africa:7-9 United States:PG (certificate #51644)

Read about Overcomer On the Internet Movie Data Base

Credited Cast:
Alex Kendrick ... John Harrison
Shari Rigby ... Amy Harrison
Aryn Wright-Thompson ... Hannah Scott
Cameron Arnett ... Thomas Hill
Priscilla C. Shirer ... Olivia Brooks
Jack Sterner ... Ethan Harrison
Ben Davies ... Coach Myers
Denise Armstrong ... Barbara Scott
Kendrick Cross ... Ken Jones
Holly A. Morris ... Cindy Hatcher
Myke Holmes ... Troy Finkle
Micah Lynn Hanson ... Nurse Kathryn
Karen Boles ... Coach Karen
Elizabeth Becka ... Mrs. Charles
Jared Staley ... Wesley Ford

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