MOVIE REVIEW: When The Game Stands Tall

Director: Thomas Carter

Cast: Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig. Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern, and Clancy Brown

Synopsis: Inspired by a true events, “When the Game Stands Tall” tells the remarkable journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) – a man who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport.

Movie Review:

TriStar Pictures

Any fan of a classic Hollywood tale about the rise to glory and the fall that always seems to ensue will find comfort in the newest film centered around the world of high school athletics. “When the Game Stands Tall” takes the audience on a compassionate ride with a strong focus on the bonds created through brotherhood and love. While the film starts at the pinnacle of De La Salle High Schools ride at the top, the audience is quickly humbled as events take a drastic turn.

Jim Caviezel pulls off a dramatic change of direction with his portrayal of real life coach Bob Ladouceur. Always calm, cool, and collected around his students, Ladouceur teaches these young men about a moral code and what it means to be better people rather than champions of a meaningless sports streak. It’s proven through the film that Ladouceur is not necessarily the master of his own laid back philosophy, but only the master of portraying it.

TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

Although Caviezel is the actor with the most star power in this film, he has significantly good supporting power with believable performances by Michael Chiklis as assistant coach Terry Edison and other young talent such as star running back Chris Ryan played by Alexander Ludwig.  Although it had a number of other subplots throughout the story, “When the Game Stands Tall is a coming of age tale at its core. It follows a group of young men as they realize there are more important things in life other than themselves.

In the end, “When the Game Stands Tall” is a worthy movie of any fan who enjoys a quality high school sports film. At the same time, it isn’t a story audiences haven’t already seen a number of times over. It doesn’t fall into the ranks of some of the other great films that have preceded it, but it also can’t be considered one of the worst of its genre. If you’re looking for an inspiration film that shows the weakness and potential in all of us, “When the Game Stands Tall” will evoke those feelings in you.

“When the Game Stands Tall” hits theaters Friday August 22, 2014.

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