Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Thoughts on “We Are Marshall”

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I got to see We Are Marshall over the weekend. A great film, especially for one starring Matthew McConnaughey, who for once managed to make me believe I was watching his character and not himself. The movie covers the story of the 1970 plane crash that took lives of most of the players and coaching staff of the Marshall University football team. Thankfully, the film doesn’t fall into too many clichés, though it never fails to inspire or uplift, no matter how many of these movies we’ve seen.

McConnaughey’s character, Coach Jack Lengyel, portrays an honest kind of humility in a situation that reminded me of the brokenness found in small churches after suffering a split. Lengyel offers a kind of leadership that seeks to heal and move forward. He certainly never shrinks away from an opportunity for victory, but he wisely rebuilds the team by inspiring excellence first. “One day, not today, not tomorrow, not this season, probably not next season either but one day,” Lengyel tells assistant coach Red Dawson, who struggles over his desire to honor those he loved with a winning game, “you and I are gonna wake up and suddenly we’re gonna be like every other team in every other sport where winning is everything and nothing else matters. And when that day comes, well that’s when we’ll honor them.”

The movie never caves to easier charted themes like race and the narrow-mindedness of small town folk. Instead, the characters all exhibit a decency, honor and love built around a plot that develops its conflict by examining the internal hurt of those affected by the tragedy.

Finally, a sports movie worthy of comparison to Hoosiers.


Written by taj

February 20, 2007 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Movies

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