Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alex Kendrick|
|Music by||Paul Mills|
|Edited by||Alex Kendrick|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$38 million|
Overcomer is a 2019 American Christian drama film directed by Alex Kendrick, who co-wrote the script with Stephen Kendrick. It is the Kendrick brothers' sixth film and their second through their subsidiary, Kendrick Brothers Productions. The film was released by Sony Pictures through its label, Affirm Films, on August 23, 2019.
It received mixed critical reviews but was well-received by audiences, grossing $38 million worldwide against a $5 million budget and garnering Alex Kendrick's third "A+" on CinemaScore. He is the second director to have three films receive the grade, after Rob Reiner.
John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) is a basketball coach at a high school. Due to the manufacturing plant being moved to another city, all of the good basketball players, along with their families, must move also. School Principal Olivia Brooks (Priscilla Shirer) tells John that the school is losing several teachers and coaches and that she needs him to coach cross country, as she doesn’t want the school to lose another program.
John agrees to be the running coach for Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson), who is asthmatic. Hanna lives with her grandmother and has been told that both her parents are dead. Hannah also steals items from students at school and has a collection of them. One day, on his hospital visits to help the pastor, John accidentally enters the room of Thomas Hill (Cameron Arnett). Hill is blind and suffering from diabetic complications. Hill also had been a cross country runner. After couple of visits to see Hill, John finds out that Hill is Hannah's father. John also later finds out that the principal was Hannah's mother's friend and has been paying her tuition fees.
Hannah is told about her father and is taken to meet him. Though reluctant at first, she eventually accepts him and starts visiting him more. Through the process she discovers herself and also strengthens her Christian faith and her belief in Jesus Christ as her father. Hannah returns all of the stolen items and practices rigorously.
On the day of the State Championship race, John gives Hannah ear buds and a player. John tells her to play the player as the race begins. Through the race, Hannah hears her father's voice of coaching and encouragement, leading her to win the race and become the state champion.
Later, Hill passes away. A couple of years later, Hannah tells her story to her cross country friends. Then Hannah puts a flash drive in the player and runs through the city while listening to the recording from her father which begins with "It's your 21st birthday".
- Alex Kendrick as John Harrison, former basketball coach who reluctantly begins coaching cross-country
- Shari Rigby as Amy Harrison, John's wife
- Priscilla Shirer as Olivia Brooks, the principal of Brookshire Christian School and mentor to Hannah Scott
- Cameron Arnett as Thomas Hill, a blind man and former runner harboring a secret past
- Aryn Wright-Thompson as Hannah Scott, an orphan and high-school cross-country runner being raised by her grandmother
- Jack Sterner as Ethan Harrison, John Harrison's son
- Ben Davies as Coach Myers
The idea that resulted in Overcomer came to Alex Kendrick in 2011 while he was visiting cross-country events for children:
I saw a lot of dads coaching their kids, speaking into them, affirming them . . . [a]nd I remember Paul in scripture talking about life is like a race. And you want to finish well. Then [the idea] went in the prayer incubator. Then as we were praying about, 'Lord, what do you want us to do?', that came back to mind. And the prompting to talk about identity.
Overcomer was filmed mainly in Columbus, Georgia, with a few scenes shot in Nashville, Tennessee and Albany, Georgia. In the summer of 2018, Affirm Films and Provident Films announced that they had wrapped up filming and were now in post-production.
Overcomer was made with a $5 million budget, which is $2 million more than their last film, War Room's budget. Because of the larger budget, the film was shot with the same camera equipment used to film The Avengers, with the indoor shots being filmed in sets built by the production crew, which was something the Kendricks had never done before in their previous films. The film's producer and co-writer Stephen Kendrick said of their work on the film: "[Overcomer is] the best shot . . . [t]he best lighting. I would say the best acting in so many ways. The storyline has some neat twists and turns in it."
Several actors appearing in earlier films by the Kendrick Brothers were cast for roles in Overcomer, including Priscilla Shirer and Ben Davies. Paul Mills, who wrote the score for War Room, also returned to compose for Overcomer. The soundtrack includes the record setting No. 1 Christian song "You Say" by Lauren Daigle that held the top spot for 62 weeks. It also crossed over and reached No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Our culture wants to say identity is what you feel, or what culture says about you, or some status, job status, financial status . . . [a]nd all those things can change. So, who are you when what you are known for is stripped away?
Concerning the religious nature of the film and the Kendrick Brothers' previous productions, Kendrick said:
Our primary [purpose] is to help people who already know Christ, to continue growing and live out their faith.
But there is truth in our movies that will bleed over into secular audiences as well. Many people that watch our films are impacted by the messages, even if they don't share our faith.
We can make a movie but only God can change the heart.
Overcomer screened early in several cities, including Atlanta, Georgia. It also received a pre-screening on March 28, 2019 at the National Religious Broadcasters' Proclaim 19. The film was theatrically released in the United States on August 23, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Overcomer was released alongside Angel Has Fallen, Overcomer was projected to gross around $6 million from 1,723 theaters in its opening weekend. Prior to its release, Fandango reported that the film's advance ticket sales were surpassing those of Breakthrough, which debuted to $11.3 million in March 2019. Overcomer made $3 million on its first day, including $775,000 from Thursday night previews.  It went on to slightly over-perform, debuting to $8.1 million over the weekend; as with many faith-based films, it played best in Mid-West and Southern states. The film has grossed $38 million worldwide as of January 2020.
According to the film's director, Alex Kendrick, 50 people in one theater accepted Christ after seeing the film, calling it "one of many, many stories" of people affected by the film.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 5.79/10. On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 17 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale. While Deadline Hollywood noted it had become "standard" for faith-based films, Kendrick became just the second director (after Rob Reiner) to have three different films earn the score.
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