McFarland, USA – Movie Review

McFarland, USAMcFarland, USA – PG
Release Date: Fri 20 Feb 2015

Coach White (Kevin Costner) starts a cross country program in a small community of McFarland, California. The town is home to a poor, hard-working community based around field workers where children begin working alongside their parents as young as ten. White’s family is wary of the town at first, as it seems dangerous but quickly befriend many of the people in the community.

As a PG-rated Disney film about an underdog sports team, it’s surprising how well the movie does at make you forget you’re watching an incredibly predictable story. The story of the workers is fascinating, and little touches like the community throwing the daughter a quinceanera are really nicely done. It’s a warm, welcoming movie with great characters and a great message about the importance of supporting one another and giving the young a better life than the one you have.

The events of the movie took place in 1987, the first year that California had a state cross country championship. A final sequence shows the real coach and runners as they are now, all of them college graduates and many helping to teach the next generation in McFarland. It’s a great feeling to see that success come to life on the screen and an affirming look at how this community is perpetuating the American dream.

Hannah and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:



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