The Miracle Season: Heartbreaking and Devastating

(l to r.) Erin Moriarty as Kelley Fliehler and Danika Yarosh as Caroline “Line” Found star in Sean McNamara’s THE MIRACLE SEASON, an LD Entertainment/Mirror release. Credit: Cate Cameron/LD Entertainment/Mirror

The Miracle Season is the type of film that requires a box of Kleenex heading into the theaters.  It’s a film that falls under the categories of being both heartbreaking and devastating as director Sean McNamara tells the inspiring true story of the the Iowa City West High School volleyball team.  It’s a team that hand to find a way to channel their feelings following the tragic accident of star setter Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh)

Danika Yarosh evokes the spirit of the young woman whose life she brings to the screen.  Line, as she called herself, was the type of person who had nothing but love to give.  She was the team captain heading into her senior year and looking to help the coach, Kathy “Coach Brez” Bresnahan (Helen Hunt), bring back another championship trophy in 2011.  The tragic moment comes after Line hosts a party to celebrate the team’s new season.  There’s a sense going into the moment that one knows that something bad is going to happen whether they were familiar with the story or not.  It’s a moment that hits hard.

Line’s father, Ernie (William Hurt), gets a double-dose of heartbreak when his wife, Ellyn, dies of cancer within two weeks after his daughter died in a moped accident.  Hurt plays the motions of a grieving father and widow as one should.  In so many ways, he serves as a father figure to his daughter’s best friend, Kelley Fliehler (Erin Moriarty), even though Kelly has her own parents.  That said, Kelley’s parents don’t have much of a supporting role in the film.  There’s a lot of screen time between Kelley and Ernie as the two of them grieve with the latter offering ways to channel her feelings.  It’s Ernie who says it’s okay for Kelley to replace his daughter as setter as if she was asking his permission to do so.  This is a role that requires so much emotion in addition to athletic skills and Moriarty does it so well.

Following Line’s death, the team doesn’t have it in them to play volleyball anymore.  All of them are grieving the loss of their teammate as they should.  It’s Kelley who steps up and announces to the entire school that she’ll be attending practice because that’s what Line would want.  With the losses piling up, it will be nothing short of a miracle for the West High Trojans to make it back to the state championship.  Coach Brez does the math and tells the team that they need to win all fifteen of their remaining games to make it back to state.  Seemingly impossible, right?  There’s a few moments here and there that are appropriately filmed in slow-motion and the typical sports music accompanies the footage on camera.

What’s really strange in watching the film is that Coach Brez doesn’t even allow herself to grieve in public when everyone else is clearly hurting.  She’s the type of coach that keeps coaching.  It’s a role that Hunt plays so perfectly.  When the time comes for Hunt to play the part with emotions, she truly does so with 100%.

Led by its heartfelt performances, The Miracle Season will inspire audiences to Live Like Line.

DIRECTOR:  Sean McNamara
SCREENWRITERS:  David Aaron Cohen, Elissa Matsueda
CAST:  Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Danika Yarosh, Erin Moriarty

LD Entertainment will release The Miracle Season in theaters on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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