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A few years back, you would be hard pressed to find a family friendly movie that can stir your emotions and leave you feeling good as you left the dark womb-like envelope of the theater. Instead, there seemed to be a stream of movies that followed the recipe of inserting as much vulgarity, sex and violence into the 90 minutes or so you were in the theater. And, those films often had little to no plot involved. Or, one might say that many were just variations on the same theme.
Yes, there was the occasional release of a family film (mostly from powerhouses like Disney.) But, it was truly the exception and in turn many of us made the decision to put our money where our mouth was and only frequent those rare family movies. (Mr. O was NOT thrilled when he saw the price tag to see Jonah many moons ago, but we wanting to support Big Idea and help send a message.)
Thankfully, Hollywood is taking notice that not all of their moviegoers want that triple mix of profanity, sex and violence. And, their response is an increase in films that truly ARE family friendly.
About the movie (from PR materials):
It’s 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time … and she’s about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women’s basketball.
In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women’s Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College.
Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she’s willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals—or perhaps she’s just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them.
From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school’s Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. To top it off, she may not even have enough players to field a team!
While it appears the Macs don’t have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday—a spunky assistant coach—and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Coach Rush creates a new game plan that just might bring the team—and the school—together.
Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her? One thing’s for certain: there’s never been anyone like Cathy Rush at Immaculata!
Our Thoughts ~
Our family felt quite blessed with the opportunity to preview this film. I had seen the preview on my copy of The Shunning and was counting down the days until it was released to movie theaters.
The consensus was that this is most definitely a movie that many families would enjoy. There’s nothing from the mix of profanity, sex and violence (beyond a little bumping on the basketball court) typical in many theatrical releases. Catholics, specifically the nuns at Immaculata College, are portrayed positively. And, one theme the boys probably missed seeing altogether (women beginning to find their place in the ‘new world’) was handled beautifully.
I’m happy with the inclusion of the chapel in all its glory and the presence of Catholic statues, sacramentals, and other uniquely Catholic items to set the stage for the importance of Faith in the lives of the characters. Nuns and some of the girls are shows fingering their rosaries at certain points in the film, too. However, I wish they’d included just a bit more in the film to portray the Catholic faith in action such as showing the girls praying the Hail Mary out loud after they get to one knee to pray before the playoff game.
There were a few times that the question could be raised about how certain characters did act. I see those scenes as showing how we are prone to commit sins, even if the end seems to justify the means. One scene has Cathy dressing up in a habit to get a free ticket to the playoffs. She tells Sister Sunday she plans to pay the airline back as soon as she can get the money. There is also one of the girls on the team lying to her parents about even attending Immaculata, let alone playing basketball.
We all give it a resounding thumbs up and recommend any families searching for a family friendly film at the theaters check this one out. With the team sports angle and wonderful lesson of believing in yourself, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
There are a ton of interviews (cast and the real Cathy Rush) and snippets from the movie on The Mighty Macs You Tube channel. I’m just going to share their trailer to get some excitement flowing.
Disclaimer ~ Our family was provided online access to preview The Mighty Macs expressly for the purpose of completing this review. No compensation was provided and the opinions expressed here are our own.