leans strongly toward a biblical worldview
|Faith and/or Biblical Relevance|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations|
|Family Viewing Suitability|
|view our criteria|
As schools across America kick off another academic year—and with it the hopes and dreams for hometown glory on the football field—the uniquely American mix of faith, family and football comes to life on the big screen in the nationwide release of WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL on Friday, August 22. Produced by Mandalay Pictures and Affirm Films and directed by Thomas Carter (Coach Carter, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story), this Sony/TriStar Pictures film stars Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, The Thin Red Line), Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, The Master) and Michael Chiklis (Vegas, No Ordinary Family). Based on the true story surrounding the end of the record-setting, 12-year, 151-game winning streak of Coach Bob Ladouceur’s De La Salle High School football team from Concord, California, WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL is an uplifting, inspiring, consistently solid, faith-centered entertainment choice that will stir the hearts of Faith Driven Consumers everywhere.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL is an unapologetically faith-based film that successfully integrates both the Bible and prayer into classroom, church, home and football settings without thumping viewers over the head. In the Catholic school setting of De La Salle High School, the meaning of Luke 6:38 is openly discussed, the Lord’s Prayer is recited two times by the team, and one player chooses to study Matthew 23:12 dealing with pride and humility—despite the mocking of his father. We also see the “Purity Pledge” mentioned and mocked by some students, but ultimately affirmed.
Throughout WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, doubts, fears and tough questions—including God’s sovereignty in the midst of bad things happening to good people—are dealt with as the characters learn deep lessons centering on brotherhood, teamwork and unity. Distinctions are made between men who are honorable and accountable and those who aren’t. And themes such as faith, family, friendship and fatherhood are realistically presented and affirmed in the context of life’s struggles and challenges, including the murder of a teammate and Coach Ladouceur’s life-threatening health crisis.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL presents a diversity of characters and subplots that depict largely realistic and faith-compatible relationships. Underlying racial tensions in the community are handled well and ultimately promote godly harmony and unity. Challenges in Ladouceur’s marriage and relationship with his son are also treated well—including the ongoing temptation to accept more lucrative and prestigious coaching offers at the university level. And Ladouceur’s relationship with his assistant coach is brotherly and charitable.
Beyond Ladouceur, it is the relationships between players that form the heart and soul of WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL. Throughout the film, players learn tough lessons in self-sacrificing teamwork, brotherhood and perserverance. In one of the most moving moments in the film, “brothers for life” Terrance and Cam wrestle with their respective decisions over college football scholarship offers—with Terrance going to the mat for his discouraged friend in an emotional and well-acted scene that sets the stage for tragedy.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
Overall, situations presented in WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL are depicted respectfully. Ladouceur’s smoking habit is shown to be the precursor to his “widow maker” heart attack, and his sometimes neglectful relationships with his wife and son are recognized and resolved in ways that point to integrity and maturity. Potentially racially charged situations on the field and off are handled respectfully, as is a sobering scene involving disabled veterans in rehabilitation from traumatic combat injuries. One of the best scenes in WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL takes place in a church at the funeral of a murdered teammate. Here, Coach Ladouceur delivers a raw and honest eulogy that reveals his love for his team and their families and brings a measure of compassion, grace and healing to a grieving community.
Family Viewing Suitability
With its PG-13 rating, WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL is a family-friendly film for teens and up. Its messages of teamwork, training and perseverance are solidly biblical and will resonate with youths and adults alike. In an American culture that often values instant gratification and self-centeredness above all else, the values of marriage, family and brotherhood extoled in WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL are to be commended and supported by Faith Driven Consumers.
At 114 minutes in length, WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL offers high production values, a solid script with commendable acting and exciting, well-executed scenes from high-stakes football games that will inspire and uplift. Its character-building messages such as “it’s through loss that we find out what we’re made of” and “don’t look down when we should be looking up” reflect positive and biblical values that will resonate with faith-driven and secular audiences alike. Ultimately, WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL affirms the truth that life is not about the winning streak, but rather the lessons learned and character developed from self-sacrifice, humility, teamwork and dedication to godly, higher goals.