"An inspiring film that shows the power of faith and forgiveness on and off the field." - Hanlon Reviews

"Based on the real-life Woodlawn High School football team which played in a history-making 1973 game that attracted 62,000 spectators.

"Set in racially torn Birmingham, Alabama, the film begins with a prologue depicting the attempt by legendary University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant (Jon Voight, strongly playing the iconic role) to ease tensions by inviting the integrated USC team to play in his still largely segregated city.

"Cut to three years later, when the Woodlawn high school becomes integrated, with football coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) welcoming the arrival of such talented black players as Tony Nathan (Caleb Castille, making an impressive screen debut). But the team still struggles to compete against their rivals at Banks High School, led by Coach Shorty White (C. Thomas Howell). 

"So when Hank (Sean Astin) shows up at Woodlawn, introducing himself as a 'sports chaplain' and asking to address the beleaguered team, Tandy reluctantly agrees. In his impassioned speech Hank asks the players to 'choose Jesus' and, much to the coach's amazement, most of the players agree, including Tony.

"Meanwhile, Bear Bryant steadfastly pursues rising star Tony, a phenomenal athlete often overlooked because of his race. As Tony states, 'There is no such thing as a black superstar in this state.'

The drama’s first half is more focused on the game itself -- and Tony’s budding career -- while its second half is focused more on the community’s religious journey.

"The Erwin brothers succeed in achieving their goals, delivering a feel-good, real-life inspirational story in an engaging fashion. With its well-staged gridiron sequences and solid ensemble performances, 'Woodlawn' may even manage to lure viewers away from their televised football games over the next couple of weeks." - Hollywood Reporter


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