The Miracle Season, rated PG
The Miracle Season is an emotional and inspirational film based on the true story of the Iowa City West Girls Volleyball team’s 2011. The film has a surprisingly strong cast, is directed by Emmy nominee Sean McNamara (That’s So Raven, Hoovey, Soul Surfer) and written by David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights), and Elissa Matsueda (Spare Parts).
Erin Moriarty (Captain Fantastic) stars as Kelly Fliehler. The film opens with a voiceover from Kelly talking about her relationship with best friend Caroline Found, played by Danika Yarosh (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), who goes by “Line”. We see them in flashbacks as young girls and then teens. They play on the Iowa City West Girls’ Volleyball team. Caroline is the team’s captain and setter and has a personality that is extremely upbeat. The team won the Iowa state championship in 2010 and with Caroline being a senior, they are aiming at a repeat in 2011.
***SPOILER ALERT ***
Caroline’s mother Ellyn, played by Jillian Fargey (Bates Motel) has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is in the hospital. The week before school is to start Caroline decides to take a moped – that her father Dr. Ernie Found, played by Oscar winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman) doesn’t know she has been riding – to the hospital to visit her mother. But Caroline is killed in an accident on the way to the hospital. We see her mother attend Caroline’s funeral, but shortly after the funeral she dies as well.
The film is primarily about how the Iowa City West Girls Volleyball team and Caroline’s father Ernie deal with these losses. We see Ernie’s faith shaken from the losses. The film focuses on the team’s 2011 season. The team is coached by Kathy Bresnahan, called “Bres”, played by Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets). After the tragedy, Kelly and her teammates don’t want to continue playing. But Coach Bresnahan convinces Kelly that she needs to replace Caroline as the leader of the team, and that the team should play the season in honor of Caroline.
The film uses a lot of music (Katy Perry, Britt Nicole, etc.) Themes include teamwork, tragedy, loss, grief, encouragement and faith. The Miracle Season is an inspirational well-made film based on a true story. It is better than many sports films I’ve seen. It features strong acting performances from Helen Hunt, William Hurt and Erin Moriarty.
Live Like Line: The Story of Caroline Found. In this fourteen-minute video Frank Deford tells the story of the 2011 Iowa City West Girls Volleyball team. Only watch after you see the film The Miracle Season.