Prep Volleyball

"The Miracle Season" inspires volleyball players everywhere to #LiveLikeLine

Some attendees wore Caroline Found shirts for the hometown special screening of
Some attendees wore Caroline Found shirts for the hometown special screening of "The Miracle Season" at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The true story of “The Miracle Season” – the tragic death of Caroline Found and how the Iowa City West volleyball team honored her legacy en route to a second-straight state championship – is beyond moving.

And while critics have found the movie to be corny and “formulaic,” this is a story that many moviegoers are discovering the first time. The emotions of that come across on social media, as does the #LiveLikeLine message.

Volleyball teams bond

Inspirational sports movies are easy to find.

What’s tougher to find is an inspirational volleyball movie.

That’s why volleyball teams around the country have been driven to theaters to view “The Miracle Season.”

Tragedy hits home

For volleyball players and other high school athletes, the story of Caroline Found resonates. They can relate to the deep sadness the Iowa City community experienced in 2011, having gone through something similar in their own schools.

For others, it’s a reminder to cherish every moment with each other.

The tears flow

One thing is made clear by social media reviewers: almost no one leaves a showing of “The Miracle Season” with dry eyes.

What the critics are saying

The discord between critics and fans is easy to see on sites like Rotton Tomatoes. “The Miracle Season” gets a 44 percent approval rating from critics there, but 88 percent from the general audience.

“Even if you’re moved by it, there’s no denying,” Variety’s review reads, “it’s such a formula film.”

On IMDb, it gets 6.2 stars out of 10.

The New York Times says “Moviemakers Spike a Real-Life Volleyball Story.”

The movie is described as “godawful, even by the standards of sports dramas” in the Hollywood Reporter. “With apologies to the actual people involved, who are no doubt lovely humans and deserve much better …”

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You can see which parts of the movie are true and which are stretched in The Gazette’s review. Jeff Linder recommends reading former West head coach Kathy Bresnahan’s book by the same title.

Linder writes, “the original storyline was so Hollywood-caliber, and in this case, Hollywood fell a little short,” but there are plenty of powerful moments and the movie “is worth your time.”

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