Starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox and David Strathairn
Directed by Joseph "McG" Nichol and produced by Basil Iwanyk
Warner Brothers 2006 - Rated PG
To watch the trailer, click here, then click on "Video." Over 35 years ago, a chartered airplane clipped the treetops on its final descent into Huntington, W.V., killing everyone on board. Marshall University and its community were forced to endure the greatest disaster in college sports history. The collective will to honor those lost brought hope and healing to everyone touched by the tragedy.
Based on this tragic yet triumphant true story, "We Are Marshall" is a clear-cut example of art imitating life. Not only did the reality of November 14, 1970, and subsequent events not require embellishment, for Hollywood to needlessly sensationalize the script of an already poignant story would have been gratuitous. Except for the occasional composite characters created to hold the film to about two hours, this memorable journey is recounted candidly. Having secured the school's blessing, the creators of the movie performed skillfully and respectfully.
Real-life ironies abound. Some are told in this movie; others are explained in the 2000 West Virginia Public Broadcasting documentary "Ashes to Glory." Still others remain behind the scenes, described online and passed down through the generations of those who are living out the story.
"We Are Marshall" is one for the record books. Led by the new head football coach Jack Lengyel (McConaughey), the team, campus and town earnestly demonstrate what can happen when people pull together. McConaughey is as much a life coach as he is a team coach. The chronicle is not solely about football, nor is it gender specific. The music -- from the 1960s and '70s -- artfully evokes the era when the events took place. The result is an honorable feel-good flick. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and cried some more. "We Are Marshall" finds itself in the "win" column. See it ... before the clock runs out.