“THE MIRACLE SEASON” is an inspiring, uplifting, and enjoyable family film

THE MIRACLE SEASON from LD Entertainment

True leaders. Their influence is undeniable on the lives of those around them. Then, there are those leaders whose influence continues even after they are gone. THE MIRACLE SEASON tells the inspiring true story of the life of an amazing young girl who motivated those left behind.

THE MIRACLE SEASON was directed by Sean McNamara (Raise Your Voice, Soul Surfer) and written by David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights) and Elissa Matsueda (Spare Parts). It stars Academy Award winner, Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You) as Kathy Bresnehan, Academy Award winner William Hurt (The History of Violence, Children of a Lesser God) as Dr. Ernie Found, Danika Yarosh (Heroes Reborn) as Caroline ‘Line’ Found, and Erin Moriarty (Captain Fantastic) as Caroline’s best friend, Kelley Fliehler.


In Iowa, the girls’ volleyball team, from Iowa City West High School, brings their community together, and Caroline Found – or “Line,” as she nicknamed herself – is the inspiration for their 2011season. The 17-year-old Line (Yarosh) is vivacious and life-loving, compassionate, and caring, making sure kids don’t eat alone in the lunchroom and that everyone gives their all at volleyball games. Line is her team’s captain, helping Coach Brez (Hunt) rally everyone together to repeat their championship win from 2010. Then, in August 2011, as her senior year is about to begin, Line dies in an accident that leaves her team, her school, and her father, Ernie (Hurt), heartbroken by their loss. Two weeks later, Ellyn, Line’s mother, succumbs to cancer. The grief for all seems too much to handle.

Helen Hunt as West High volleyball Coach Kathy Bresnehan [THE MIRACLE SEASON from LD Entertainment]

But when the team starts to wonder if they can move forward, Ernie’s strength and faith spur them on, and Caroline’s best friend, Kelley Fliehler (Moriarty), won’t let down the girl she loved since childhood. Kelley encourages her classmates, Coach Brez, and even the opponents the City West team faces across the net to “Live Like Line” – to never back down, never stop smiling, and always give 100 percent, even when the odds seem impossible. By the time their season wraps up, the Iowa City Trojans help Ernie, Coach Brez, and the whole community find the strength and spirit to live like Line, truly making it THE MIRACLE SEASON.

The film has many pluses, the greatest being the fact that this was a true story. Caroline Found was a compassionate young woman who lived life to the fullest and cared about everyone, no matter who they were. In an age when so many tragedies are taking place on our campuses, and people wonder who can make a difference, this film shows that one person can change the situations surrounding them self. Beyond lauding Caroline Found, the film encourages us to be that person, be that influencer.

The acting was strong. Hunt portrayed Kathy Bresnahan as a dedicated coach, who cared for the girls on her team. Hurt portrayed Dr. Ernie Found as a man struggling with a double loss, yet he reached out to help others with their own grief. The movie suggests that Found, a Christian, got angry with God; but as Dr. Found explained in this featurette, that was for dramatic purposes only.

The actors who played the girls on the West High volleyball team pulled double-duty. They not only had to act; they had to learn to play volleyball like champions. Which they did.

The film has a few drawbacks, most of them centering around editing the story. The filmmakers tried to cram four months into 90 minutes and the result felt choppy and the timeline confusing. There was a scene early in the film that focused on Coach Brez’s divorce; that was never addressed again. The time that Caroline spent on screen before her death showed a vivacious, life-loving girl; we only learned how she cared about other people in retrospect.

Despite those shortcomings, THE MIRACLE SEASON is an inspiring, uplifting, and enjoyable family film.

Opening in theaters April 6, THE MIRACLE SEASON is rated PG for some thematic elements.

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