“The Miracle Season” stars Helen Hunt, Erin Moriarty, Danika Yarosh, and William Hurt. Released on April 6, 2018, the film follows the Iowa City West High School volleyball team and their attempt to win the state championship for the second time.
The film is directed by Sean McNamara, who also directed films such as Raise Your Voice, Soul Surfer, and Spare Parts. You probably haven’t even heard of this film until now, but I can surely bet that some of you who attended Iowa City West High School may have heard about its true story. While not as historically memorable as the other sports-related events that we encountered throughout the years, this one definitely hit all of the feels for the ICW High School students who grew attached to Caroline Found, the star captain of the volleyball team who tragically died in an accident seven years ago. Her death inspires the West High volleyball team to “Live like Line” and attempt to win their second straight state championship in order to honor her memory. This event was inspiring enough to be retold on the big screen, and to my surprise, I was looking forward to see how they’re going to tell this type of story. There are plenty of films that showcase sports-related true stories with brilliant results. This one, however, unfortunately falls into the far-from-brilliant category.
-The cast delivered some decent performances, including Helen Hunt as Kathy Bresnahan. Erin Moriarty was likable as Kelley Fliehler.
-The film’s inspiring themes were nicely portrayed.
-The volleyball sequences were well-directed by Sean McNamara. They're mildly entertaining and kept me on my toes.
-Its storytelling was simple, weak and formulaic. McNamara’s experience with direct-to-video films and television movies may or may not be the cause of the problem.
-The characters missed the opportunity to provide a good amount of depth, especially the connection between Kelley Fliehler, Bresnahan, and the volleyball team.
Final thoughts: the heart and inspiration of “The Miracle Season” were in the right place, but they weren’t enough to win the match against the naysayers. It’s a family-friendly film that offers some relatable messages, but in terms of how the story is portrayed, it’s the type of film that would be suited better on television or on a streaming service. It’s not the worse fact-based sports film I’ve seen since I found some enjoyment in the volleyball sequences and the plot, but I would say that it was a pretty disappointing attempt at honoring the memory of Caroline Found. I would possibly recommend it to those who enjoy inspirational dramas and playing volleyball.