The word that comes to mind when describing Jim Caviezel’s latest film is heart. “When the Game Stands Tall” is a film not just about football. It is about people and the investment made in them.
The story of this film centers on the De La Salle High School Spartans football team after the loss of a 12-year 151-game winning streak. Along with losing the streak, the coach suffers a heart attack and a player is shot and killed. The team and the coach work together to overcome these obstacles unite once again.
The theme of this film is summed up by Caviezel’s character, coach Bob Ladouceur, who tells his players that life is more than football. It is about the choices you make. Ladouceur works with his players on and off the field building their athletic ability and character. The warmth shown between the players and the coaching staff shines through and is felt by the audience because of a high quality cast.
The film follows in the footsteps of several great sports films like “Remember the Titans,” “Rudy” and “Hoosiers.” One of the most powerful moments in the film is when Ladouceur takes the team to visit a veteran’s hospital. The visit helps to not only unite the team, but shows the team what is really important in life. This scene is reminiscent of the scene in “Remember the Titans,” when the coach takes the team to visit the Gettysburg battlefield.
Director Thomas Carter did a good job in making the film feel genuine and honest. One of the ways this feeling is achieved is how writers and directors paid attention to the small details from the real Da La Salle football team, such as the team holding hands as they walked onto the field for each game.
The only downsides of this film are the few points when it seems to drag. Other than that, for the most part, the film is put together well — well-edited and well-acted.
This is a film you need to see before it leaves theaters. If you coach a team and are looking for a film to inspire your players, this would be a good one to pick. This film is rated PG.