"Dealing with Grief"
What You Need To Know:
WE ARE MARSHALL does not sugarcoat the pain involved in a great loss. Several key characters react poorly on occasions, but the heart of the movie is the rebuilding process and the encouraging signs of success. MOVIEGUIDE® heartily recommends WE ARE MARSHALL, with the caution that there is too much foul language and an instance of players drinking beer. Though the movie could have used more prayer and overt Christian ministry, there were some clear Christian elements, including one scene set in a church.
(BB, CC, LLL, V, A) Strong Biblical worldview with clear Christian elements, with much compassion and concern for others shown in dealing with grief from plane crash, including one scene is set in a church as one coach tries to help another coach deal with grief; at least 25 obscenities (including seven "s" words, five "d" words and 10 "h" words), two strong profanities and two light profanities (at sight of plane crash); a couple of minor fights and football violence; no sex; no nudity; brief alcohol use by football players; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
WE ARE MARSHALL is an inspiring movie about dealing with grief and moving on. At 7:37 PM, November 14, 1970, almost the entire Marshall University football team, including coaches and some prominent fans, is killed when their chartered plane clips some trees and crashes just short of the runway in Huntington, West Virginia. To this day, the crash remains the biggest sports-related disaster in U.S. History.
The movie opens with Marshall losing a close game against East Carolina University and boarding the charter plane home. At the last minute, assistant coach Red Dawson (played by Matthew Fox) agrees to take a recruiting trip by car for one of the other coaches so he can fly home. Three players are not on the plane because they were injured. One oversleeps and misses the flight. Following the crash, those who could easily have been on the flight have a very difficult time dealing with the loss. The entire community is shaken.
Just when it looks as if the Marshall football program would be suspended, one of the injured players, Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie), inspires a large segment of the community to support rebuilding the program out of respect for those who lost their lives. The movie effectively contrasts those unprepared to move on with those determined to do so. David Strathairn plays the president of Marshall who has difficulty even finding someone willing to coach the rebuilding effort. Matthew McConaughey plays Coach Jack Lengyel, who seeks out the job because he feels so deeply about the loss suffered by the school and the community.
In one of the most touching moments in the movie, then West Virginia University head coach Bobby Bowden (still coaching for FSU) allows the coaches from Marshall free access to all films and game plans. He also has a cross and MU (for Marshall University) inscribed on the back side of his team’s helmets the year following the crash.
Though the movie could have used more prayer and overt Christian ministry, there were some clear Christian elements, including one scene set in a church. For many people, their faith in God proves to be vital in helping them through times of grief and enabling them to move on with their lives. Movies based on real events should not be afraid to show the importance of such faith.
WE ARE MARSHALL does not sugarcoat the pain involved in such a great loss. Several key characters react poorly on occasions, but the heart of the movie is the rebuilding process and the encouraging signs of success. MOVIEGUIDE® heartily recommends WE ARE MARSHALL, with the caution that there is too much foul language and an instance of players drinking beer.