One liner: “I came here today because I believe.”
Most likely you’ve seen the trailers about “Woodlawn”, the true story of a faith movement that flamed from a football field in Alabama. The story is deeper than overcoming daily adversity from differences between people. It’s early 1970s and the actions to maintain segregation are roaring.
I was pleased to see the thoughtful inclusion of historical footage of brutality against African Americans/Blacks in the film, as well as dialogue which showed how the characters were continuing to choose acceptance and the work towards achieving much needed change.
One time this choice was exemplified was when Tony Nathan accepted a prestigious award from the Quarterback Club. He was requested to take a photo with then Gov. Wallace and refused. Even after being demanded and having slurs slung at him, Nathan stood firm not to brush Wallace’s political stance under the rug for the sake of a photo op. Poignantly, a transformed Coach Gerelds supported him.
The acknowledgement of social injustice and actions towards justice are prevalent in this film. The reason why the latter spoke distinctly louder is key.
Truth is, I didn’t go into the movie with historical knowledge of Woodlawn High School and nationally known football stars Tony Nathan and Jeff Rutledge. Actually, I thought it was a “Remember the Titans”-esque story with a dash more faith. (Hey, too much research opens the door to spoilers!) What I found, however, was a group of individuals that were living out their faith so loudly it shook a state.
Whatever this movie intended to do, it inspired me to think of the magnitude of using one’s gift to reach His people has the potential to look like. Other than the chaplain, Hank, I can’t imagine any of those associated with Woodlawn High School would have pictured what happened in the stadium of 42,000 when the “mics when out”.
Or even that 40 some years later, their story and commitment still reaches people today.
Maybe on July 16, 2016 I’ll find out.
Today, there were 8 of us in the theater which is unfortunate only because this movie was so well done. From script to cinematography, music and acting, this was a quality production to hit the silver screen. (Francesca Battistelli even has a cameo, people.) The theater should’ve been packed as it’s a story that’s relatable to a wide audience. That and it’s football Sunday after all!
If you’re still wondering if this is a faith-based film worth spending your hard earned dollars on, let me give it to you straight:
Hit the Mark: Yes.