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Woodlawn

Woodlawn

One Hope. One Truth. One Way (John 14:6)Oct. 15, 2015 USA123 Min.PG
Your rating: 0
8.7 1,434 votes

Video trailer

Director

Andrew Erwin
Director

Cast

C. Thomas Howell isGeorge 'Shorty' White
George 'Shorty' White
Jon Voight isPaul Bryant
Paul Bryant
Brando Eaton isMike Morton
Mike Morton
Sherri Shepherd isMomma Nathan
Momma Nathan
Nic Bishop isTandy Gerelds
Tandy Gerelds
Caleb Castille isTony Nathan
Tony Nathan
Rhoda Griffis isAttorney Brenda Howly
Attorney Brenda Howly

Synopsis

Love and unity in a school torn by racism and hate in the 1970s.

Woodlawn
Woodlawn
Woodlawn
Woodlawn
Original titleWoodlawn
IMDb Rating6.5 4,888 votes
TMDb Rating6.9 40 votes

(38) comments

  • SpiritMechanicOctober 15, 2015Reply

    Worth seeing

    Saw s screening of this a couple of months ago. The movie is pretty
    good even though i think there should have been a little more
    development in some of the characters. It would have came together a
    little better in the end. I would definitely recommend it though. This
    is a Christian move so of course there will be many haters just for
    this fact. Yes it is a little preachy but not so embarrassing as a lot
    of others. If this wasn’t based on a true story, i would have given it
    a lower rating because it seemed to be a little too far fetched ( in a
    good way ). But i asked one of the persons at the screening who was
    involved with the picture if this really happened as it was shown and
    he said yes, it was. This isn’t just a football movie. Its a lot more,
    so don’t go in expecting just another Christian football movie. If you
    do want a good Christian football movie, see ‘When the Game Stands
    Tall’ So it is a great story that really happened. There are a few
    things that weren’t explained fully that left me wanting more but
    nevertheless, i liked it. You wont be disappointed..

  • chriscasoni-38-382612October 16, 2015Reply

    A film with purpose, conviction, and hope. Definitely worth the trip to the theater!

    As our country continues to see the lines of racial divide grow farther
    and farther apart this film is a breath of fresh air. With a well
    written screenplay and excellent acting Woodlawn lifts the spirit of
    its audience to embrace the truth that peace can be found for everyone
    through faith in the one true source of hope and love. We need more
    films like this to help shape our culture for the betterment of
    society.

    Take your family, take your friends, take your sports teams, and see
    this film. If we can emulate the change that took place in this town
    Alabama then maybe we can make a difference in our nation that has
    eternal weight.

  • Christopher ShobrisOctober 16, 2015Reply

    A Spiritual Experience

    The most emotionally driven sports film since 42 in 2013. With a very
    similar idea but with more of a spiritual message. For a film with many
    unknown people and little known companies this is very well made. But
    if it was Universal I would expect a little more as this film offers a
    lot of talk and some action and not much character development. This
    will probably be one of those films that will fly over everyone’s head
    and may not get many viewers and money. But we’ll see strange things
    happen. But for what it is I’m glad I saw it and was worth the 6$ price
    and a film I’d recommend after it comes out on Redbox. Here are the
    grades for the film. Directing: B Acting: B+ Music: B Story: B Overall:
    B

  • Tim G JenneOctober 17, 2015Reply

    True story about reconciliation

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Steve PulaskiOctober 17, 2015Reply

    The clash of the unmemorable titans

    If Christian cinema doesn’t conjure up a film that shows its ostensible
    love for being persecuted, its hackneyed display of sentimentality and
    ”realism” through road trips and facile relationships, or its love for
    praying everywhere from schools to small closets, it’ll focus on a
    sport, particularly football. ”Woodlawn,” directed by the brothers
    Erwin, Andrew and John, who also made ”Moms’ Night Out” and ”October
    Bay,” is the kind of film that is victim to feeling like a neverending
    bout of clichés no matter how accurately it’s told. This is a film that
    can’t find a way to tell its extraordinary story without adding
    generous portions of filmmaking dramatizations and perfunctory sports
    movie occurrences, all while actively limiting the character
    development and trying to make you feel like you’re watching a film
    more exceptional than it really is.

    The film concerns Woodlawn High School, the first high school in
    Birmingham, Alabama to integrate races in 1973, causing a wave of
    backlash and unrest between students. As the city remains divided, we
    focus on Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop), the football coach of the Woodlawn
    Colonels, as he tries to ease racial tensions between his now
    integrated team. He enlists in the help of Hank (Sean Astin), a
    Christian motivational speaker that tries to reason with the players by
    preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, talking about how hope and
    forgiveness are the fundamental ideas of the human experience.

    The team happens to score an African-American player named Tony Nathan
    (Caleb Castille), who turns out to be one of the most impressive and
    unstoppable running backs in high school football. Through Nathan’s
    unprecedented maneuvers and the team’s newfound love for the lord, the
    team winds up excelling tremendously at the game. But that’s not the
    important part, as we so tiresomely learn from the Erwin brothers’
    constant moralizing, for it’s the fact that a group of men put aside
    the color of their skin to achieve the commonality of being brothers in
    Christ that makes their story so amazing.

    The first questionable element of ”Woodlawn” comes in the way of some
    seriously questionable foreshadowing when Hank makes his first speech
    to the crowd of players, most of whom clearly agitated and restless.
    After an hour-long speech, most of them realize their pursuit of the
    promised land is what they have in common. While they get up to
    congregate when Hank finishes speaking, we are left focusing on a group
    of three men (actor Brando Eaton being one of them) sitting back in
    disinterest and rebellion at what is occurring. Never once do we see
    those three men again and what we’re supposed to make of that shot is
    entirely left unsaid.

    With that, perhaps people are so blinded by the race issue the film
    concerns that they are unable to see the clichés readily apparent or
    the fact that these titans are largely unmemorable, overall. The game
    between the Woodlawn Colonels and the Banks Jets has gone down in
    history as the biggest high school football game in Alabama history,
    attracting over 40,000 people and simultaneously inciting one of the
    largest incidents of the proclaimed ”Jesus Revolution.” It was a hugely
    significant event many people will never forget. However, the film at
    hand turns the people that made it possible into precisely the thing we
    shouldn’t see them as and that is their race; all we see are a plethora
    of agitated white men and determined black men that want to be
    accepted. It’s criminal to shortchange people into that those narrow
    descriptions.

    Even Tony Nathan, our main character, has so little of a personality
    it’s almost hard to root for him. Coach Gerelds is nothing more than
    the archetypal ”do the right thing” kind of coach that prefers an
    unrealistic moralism to his practices than his colleagues, most notably
    the win-at-all-costs coach of the Banks Jets (played by C. Thomas
    Howell of all people). Finally, the remainder of the team is just a
    collection of hormonal young men caught up in the heat of the game, so
    much so that there’s hardly any time for anything resembling character
    interest to take over.

    Despite all the acclaim ”Woodlawn” is getting for being a faith-based
    film that apparently takes a step in the right direction, I fail to see
    nothing more than almost all the problems of the genre exhibited
    through another dime-store film. Still present in ”Woodlawn” is an
    abundance of sermonizing, mainly from Astin’s equally bland Hank, in a
    way that spells out all the emotions you should feel at a given time,
    in addition to your average sports film devices, such as each game
    seeming like the biggest in the world, filled with quick-cuts and
    tiresome cheers and jeers.

    ”Woodlawn” is what you’ve come to expect from the genre of films that
    brought us the lackluster ”Faith of Our Fathers” and the terrible and
    almost contradictory ”War Room” earlier this year. This is a film that
    focuses on a nostalgic event during a difficult time in American
    history and features one of the most beloved sports of the respective
    culture, so I understand how it’s hard not to get wrapped up in
    teary-eyed, patriotic, spiritual emotions when watching this film. All
    I ask is for one to remember films of the sports genre that are
    acclaimed and highly regarded and ask themselves why they are so
    beloved; the answers vary, but one of them is that they don’t use their
    setting as their primary feature nor do they define characters solely
    by their position on the field and their race. For a film attempting to
    be so inclusive and diverse, it’s terribly narrow-minded.

  • rking-19October 17, 2015Reply

    HISstory film scores big

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • tavmOctober 18, 2015Reply

    Woodlawn is quite an inspirational real-life high school football drama

    While there is a Woodlawn High School in my town of Baton Rouge, LA,
    this one is about a Woodlawn in Birmingham, AL, that seemed in danger
    of closing because of the racial incidents that happened when it was
    integrated in the early ’70s. The coach employs a motivational
    speaker-played by Sean Astin-to help heal whatever issues the school
    football players had with each other and it seems to do the trick,
    especially when one of the black players-Tony Nathan-suddenly becomes
    very valuable to the team. I’ll stop there and just say this is quite
    an inspirational true-life drama to watch in light of recent racial
    strife we seem to be going through right now. Oh, and I also liked Jon
    Voight’s playing of legendary Alabama coach Paul ”Bear” Bryant, as
    well. So on that note, I recommend Woodlawn.

  • Michael O'KeefeOctober 19, 2015Reply

    Faith and football co-exist. See what happens when God shows up!!

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • subxerogravityOctober 21, 2015Reply

    This movie does not disappoint

    This was one of two football movies coming out at the same time. The
    other was My All American. Being football movies they do have a similar
    concept, but while My All American seems to be about an underdog
    overcoming his physical condition, In Woodlawn, the underdogs use faith
    to over come their challenges, the biggest one being off the
    field…Segregation.

    Based on a true story of a high school football team that fought
    segregation with the help of Christ. I’m not that big of a fan of faith
    based films, and this movie is faith base. It seemed too easy, even to
    the coach of the high school team, for these teenagers, who haven’t
    even wrapped around their heads going to an non-segregated school, to
    somehow band together through the love of Jesus, but who am I to argue
    with the touching moments that occurred through those scenes (maybe
    that’s how it happen?).

    For me, the best part of the movie was the football. The way the camera
    moves within the players on the football field was hands down
    spectacular. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a football movie filmed in
    such a matter. I felt closer to the grid Iron than I ever did watching
    a film.

    Overall, it’s an amazing story about how Jesus united blacks and whites
    in a place in Alabama on a football field. Go to watch the football,
    stay for the inspiring message.

  • SheepDog42October 22, 2015Reply

    Woodlawn Rocks!

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • jim-32179October 24, 2015Reply

    Why not ??

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • jadasgigiOctober 28, 2015Reply

    I wept and cheered through it all!

    This movie was like stepping back in time. My husband and I grew up in
    Alabama during this time frame and experienced pretty much everything
    in the film; segregation, desegregation, race wars and the Jesus
    Revolution. These events are not exaggerated! They actually happened
    not only at Woodlawn but in cities all over America. They happened in
    the schools and churches in our town…this is truth and we personally
    have never recovered from that time period…when God showed up. Must
    see story! Billy Graham came to our little town…David Wilkerson came
    too…This film accurately and poignantly portrays a vivid spiritual
    awakening that we could certainly use a heavy dose of right now in this
    country.

  • griffolyon12November 8, 2015Reply

    Speed Review

    Woodlawn is easily the best faith-based film I’ve ever seen (one not
    based on a bible story, that is). The film details the true story of
    the Woodlawn High School football team in 1973 Birmingham, Alabama, the
    year the school integrated, and how this team helped bring the whole
    school together by all of the players accepting Christ. This is a story
    that could have easily been ham-fisted, but the Erwin Brothers (the
    directors of the film) manage to keep the film from ever being too
    sappy or preachy. All of the preaching of the film comes naturally from
    the characters and who they are, which is a problem with most
    faith-based films. Characters will often transform into philosophical
    sages when the filmmakers feel it is time to preach, and I think that
    just comes across as cheesy and not authentic to non-believers and some
    believers. Luckily, Woodlawn avoids that pitfall in its script, which
    could have been a little stronger in some areas (in particular in
    character depth and their motivations), but unlike most faith-based
    films, the good outweighs the bad here. Featuring some truly moving
    moments and a slew of well-realized football sequences, Woodlawn is a
    faith- based film I actually want to recommend.

    I give Woodlawn an 8 out of 10!

  • superdan04January 6, 2016Reply

    Why does this have such great reviews?

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • bjornfogh-70246January 7, 2016Reply

    If you wanted a sports movie this isn’t it

    I love historical sports dramas, especially the ones related to racial
    problems. I must admit I’m a sucker for motivational speeches and
    overcoming hardship or doing what others thought of as impossible. But
    this movie no matter if this really is how it went down is way too
    religious and uses way to much time on the religious aspect to my
    taste.

    I read the reviews on this page and was aware that it might have a
    little religious aspect. I thought that it was not a problem because
    most American sports movies have it and they are great anyway! So I was
    quite disappointed when I found myself halfway through the movie
    annoyed by this and I ended up skipping parts of the movie just so I
    get some the sports drama I initially wanted.

    Guess what I’m trying to say is… If you are not religious and not a
    great fan of spending two hours hearing about how great faith is and
    the wonders it can do. You should not watch this movie

  • Philipp BuJanuary 7, 2016Reply

    This is a Christian propaganda movie…you should at least know that

    I love sport movies and therefore i was looking forward to that movie,
    that i didn’t hear anything about. Well, i don’t wanna summarize too
    much, i just wanted to tell you, that you get the message pretty soon:
    Believe in Jesus and you can achieve anything. Well…nice to know, but
    do i need to get that message in every minute of that movie? What the
    fu** is the ”jesusrevolution” that gets the fattest credit I’ve ever
    seen? Do i really need i character that says:”this city is a wonder, so
    much, i want to get baptized”. I mean really? That direct in your face?
    For me this is bad writing.

    However, i’m Christian myself, but i really do hate that assimilation
    thing some religions do.

    The movie gets one point for the main character, one for some nice
    sport sequences (although they in fact repeat themselves over and over
    again) and a third point for being a sport movie.

    Anyone not living in the bible belt or having a radical Christian
    attitude should be warned, it is really a pathetic piece of propaganda.

  • kekoz-948-469127January 9, 2016Reply

    a religious movie

    Just that a religious movie.

    A team that one day, only with a few words of an stranger that became
    like part of the team (so weird) got ”converted”, they started to be
    good people, devote people, they forgot racism, all for a speech of 5
    minutes.

    And just like that they go from being one of the worst team to be one
    of the best.

    So just that, all so politically correct, a lot of clichés and the
    message believe in Jesus and you can do whatever yo want.

    I couldn’t watch the entire movie

  • unnamedhorrorJanuary 10, 2016Reply

    Short on sports/history, Way too preachy/religious

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • A_Different_DrummerJanuary 11, 2016Reply

    too much of a God thing?

    A very hard film to review, a film clearly of the ”faith” genre so well
    produced, acted, directed, cast that it literally pulls at its own
    leash and tries to cross over into the mainstream.

    Also lost in the shuffle is the fact that the ”mystery” evangelist who
    appears out of nowhere and sparks the story fathered two sons who ..
    big coincidence here.. produced the movie.

    A wonderful performance by Voight who frankly we take too much for
    granted. Compare his work here to Ray Dovovan and you will wonder if
    you are looking at the same actor.

    A film is in many ways the ultimate recipe for a soufflé. Leave it in
    the oven a few minutes too long and it falls.

    The irony is that with a little more judicious editing, a little less
    preaching, the objective of a true crossover might have been achieved.

  • SnorreplopJanuary 11, 2016Reply

    Beware of blatant religious propaganda

    Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970’s is an infamous city with a lot of
    racial tension, violence and even targeted bombings. In the middle of
    all this turbulence, a struggling high school team finds the saviors it
    is looking for.

    Being an sports film enthusiast, I had high hopes for Woodlawn,
    especially after spotting Jon Voight (and to some extent Sean Astin) in
    the cast listing. Unfortunately, the focus in this movie is not on
    character development, story or action choreography, it lacks quality
    in all these areas. What it does focus on is religion. This results in
    a rather poor outcome .

    It is not uncommon in this particular genre to see references to a
    divine presence as a source of inspiration or comfort for athletes that
    try their best in harsh circumstances. In this particular case though,
    the presence of the Almighty is far too overwhelming.

  • harbhippoJanuary 26, 2016Reply

    Surprisingly good

    The wife and I watched ”Woodlawn” last night. We were surprised that we
    liked it so much. It’s a combination of a sports movie, an anti-racism
    movie, and a pro-Jesus movie. In most cases, I don’t much care for any
    of the three, because I don’t like preachy movies and I don’t care
    about sports itself. But this one really worked for me. It’s based on
    true events. I found myself cheering out loud over a lousy touchdown (I
    never do that)! I found myself caring about the characters. It doesn’t
    go over-the-top on the anti-racism message – so many movies have one or
    two token white guys who are decent, while the rest are vicious devils,
    just to make sure we don’t miss the point, because after all we’re too
    stupid to get it otherwise. The pro-Jesus message is there because it
    is necessary to the plot and the furthering thereof, so you don’t feel
    like your church took you to see it in a van just to keep it from
    tanking at the box office. And the sports element is – well, OK, any
    football scenes in any movie are basically ‘will he get the ball to the
    end zone or not?’ because that’s what sports is. It’s a darned
    inspiring movie is what it is.

  • EyeDunnoJanuary 29, 2016Reply

    A film like a cat: You either love it, or hate it.

    Some may debate whether I’m spoiling Woodlawn with this review, but
    spoilers reveal plot twists, and this contains none of it. I can see
    why Woodlawn has garnered only a 6.3/10 for such an emotionally
    powerful film. Sean Astin plays the man who brings a sense of religion
    into the team, and it can rub a good number of people the wrong way.
    I’m not at all religious, but spiritual, and it’s very personal for me.
    As the film developed the story, I resisted the urge to shut down,
    because I don’t want to simply give up, but Woodlawn can make people
    feel really uncomfortable, because of the religion being played in
    moments throughout the film. I found myself almost rolling my eyes
    between tears. If this is what truly happened at Woodlawn HS, terrific.
    But I also get a feeling that the film was produced to react to the
    ongoing debate over how personal religion may bleed into someone else’s
    comfort zone. Throughout Woodlawn, this fact kept in my consciousness,
    which was a little discomforting, and at the end of the film it tells
    viewers about upcoming rallies for Jesus.

    I’m telling you this because it’s not spoiling Woodlawn, but revealing
    for those who either love Jesus and God, or for those who don’t want to
    feel preached to, to consider watching something else. I was puzzled
    the way the film started because I had no idea about the religious back
    story embedded in Woodlawn. A coach on the west coast recently was
    called to task about similar actions, to that of the team coach in this
    movie. SCOTUS has been reviewing cases even now, and religion has
    become a hot button topic in the elections. Whatever you feel is your
    choice, but I don’t care to let my guard down just so that I can feel
    somewhat emotionally and spiritually exploited, as I did by the time
    the credits rolled.

    It still is a powerful film, but the message of team and personal
    sacrifice and achievement was underscored by the recurring message of a
    higher power. I understand that the Jesus movement helped many during
    an era of national turmoil. As people spoke about what happened in the
    1960s and early ’70s, footage of actual interviews were shown, and the
    messages ring true in today’s unrest. That message has told me that,
    even after decades have passed, maybe technology and music can change,
    but people tend to react now as they have decades and even centuries
    ago.

    The acting itself was top-notch. The story begins with some really
    heart wrenching accounts, and the characters piked up the ball, so to
    speak, and scored. All characters felt believable, the music and
    editing were fine, and I liked the cinematography, which was nice but
    not amazing. But one character – a student with a very large afro –
    didn’t seem to make a final confrontation like I had expected he would.

    If it weren’t for the heavier-than-expected religious insertions, I
    would have enjoyed it more.

  • Bob RutzelJanuary 30, 2016Reply

    Somewhat preachy, but well worth your time.

    The problems started in Birmingham, Alabama when forced integration was
    imposed. The time is the 1970s and Alabama is a hot bed of racial
    tensions and what happened here with the Woodlawn High School football
    team can be truly called a miracle. The positive impact of what this
    team did to help themselves and the community is still going on today.
    This is based upon a true story.

    I mention Tony Nathan above as many may know who he is. I had no idea
    who he was at the time, but he could run routes unlike any other and
    even caught the attention of Paul ”Bear” Bryant, (Jon Voight) the
    legendary Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    This all starts with the entrance as self described Evangelist known as
    Hank (Sean Astin). He just shows up one day and some of us thought he
    was not real, was never really there or was an Angel (Thinking big, are
    we?) Hmmm? Then the miracle aspect would have made sense. After some
    resistance, he gets the team to come together by praying together and
    it works. They come together as a team and learn to rely on each other
    to win. Of course, we see the High School Superintendent as vigorously
    opposed to all this and threatens the Woodlawn Coach Gerelds (Nic
    Bishop). In time the prayer fest spreads throughout the community and,
    at one point, this also spreads to one of Woodlawn’s fiercest rivals,
    the Banks Jets.

    The story is indeed inspirational and well acted throughout. But one of
    the real winners in here is the music that will ”pump you up” and even
    get you to cheering when you had no intention of doing so. (Was that
    really you jumping up and down?)

    The football game scenes are nothing but brutal and I made several
    doctor appointments.

    Although this is preachy in places, you need to remember that this is
    all true and what happened because of it may be considered a miracle.
    Racial tensions in the 1970s in the South were real and, in many ways,
    are still real. Again, the impact of what happened in Woodlawn and
    Birmingham is still going on and this is a good thing. Again, this is
    well worth your time.

    Jon Voight as Paul ”Bear” Bryant outdoes himself and you only see Paul
    ”Bear” Bryant and this is quite a treat.

    Stay to the end to see what happened to : Tony Nathan, Coach Gerelds,
    Coach Paul ”Bear” Bryant, QB Jeff Rutledge played by Richard Kohnke,
    and the Banks Jets Coach played by C. Thomas Howell. (9/10)

    Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No

  • WuchakFebruary 2, 2016Reply

    Faith in God and football unite black and white

    Released in 2015, ”Woodlawn” is an inspirational sports film based on
    the true story of Tony Nathan, a running back who went on to play for
    the Miami Dolphins and played in two Super Bowls (XVII and XIX). The
    story focuses on his experiences at Woodlawn High School in 1973-1974
    as Nathan and other black students desegregate the school under
    government mandate. Nic Bishop plays the coach, Sean Astin a
    motivational minister, Jon Voight Paul ”Bear” Bryant, C. Thomas Howell
    a coach from a rival high school and Joy Brunson Tony’s potential babe.

    The plot and tone are very similar to 2000’s ”Remember the Titans.”
    They’re also both based on true stories. The main difference is that
    ”Woodlawn” is decidedly faith-based, albeit not as overt as movies like
    ”God is Not Dead” (2014) and ”War Room” (2015). The filmmakers are just
    telling the true story in which Christian faith was an essential part.
    If you can’t stomach this element I suggest staying away.

    In any case, the story moves briskly and there’s a lot of football
    action. The problem is that, like ”Remember the Titans,” the film
    doesn’t focus on character development. I suppose this is so because
    they’re both based on true events and the writers didn’t want to stray
    from reality. Whatever the reason, it prevents the story from truly
    captivating the viewer, but it’s worthwhile if you like inspirational
    sports flicks like ”Remember the Titans” or movies that focus on the
    black experience in the South during the Civil Rights era, like 2011’s
    ”The Help.”

    The film runs 123 minutes and was shot in Birmingham and Hueytown,
    Alabama.

    GRADE: B-

  • bkoganbingFebruary 10, 2016Reply

    Deep in the heart of Dixie

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • benhuntneverFebruary 12, 2016Reply

    Wow, totally not what I expected!

    I had no idea what this movie was about. My wife picked it and all I
    thought was great another awful chick flick. This movie was great, but
    in order to make the most out of it I highly recommend watching it on
    DVD because at the end you can see the true story of Woodlawn and it
    helps to bring the whole movie together. I read where other people
    watched the movie and were disappointed because they felt some things
    were left unanswered. Well I did also but fortunately I let the credits
    run and up popped the screen for the bonus stuff. Don’t watch just the
    True Story Of Woodlawn, watch all of the bonus stuff. It will be worth
    it.

    There will be haters because they just can’t stand anything about God.
    Sorry haters, this movie was awesome. What makes it so much better than
    other movies of this same genre is that this one is based on a true
    story.

  • steffenmeisterFebruary 16, 2016Reply

    Great Film

    As a Christian who is also involved in filmmaking and spent a bit of
    time working in Hollywood, I have often avoided watching Christian
    films for the same reasons mentioned by other reviewers–a film that
    becomes a platform for preaching or apologetics. Something which could
    be told verbally and where the film is used basically as a glorified
    chalkboard to teach with. When I watched this film, I had no such
    reservations. From the opening title on, it felt like a real movie. The
    acting, camera work, editing, etc. felt like the real thing. I enjoy
    good preaching, but when I watch a movie, I want good storytelling. I
    think these guys do a good job of understanding the difference.

  • Thomas Joseph HuangMarch 17, 2016Reply

    A moving film. Good mix of drama and sports action.

    When you combine American Football, a true story and religion, you seem
    to always get a spectacular film. The film revolves around the story of
    Tony Nathan, a magnificent high school American Football Player who,
    along with other African-American students who are attending Woodlawn
    High School in Birmingham, Alabama as part of a desegregation during
    1973 where racism was still very rampant. Given that this film involves
    a lot of sports scenes, I expected a lot of fast paced action sequences
    and these scenes were captured perfectly in my opinion, along with the
    other scenes that make up the entire film, including the blending of
    what looked to be actual footage from the real story. It was able to
    convey the drama, inspiration and emotion that the story holds and it
    reached me. Some scenes even left me teary eyed. The film stars a few
    familiar faces such as Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee from The Lord Of The
    Rings.), Jon Voight (Anaconda, National Treasure, Mission Impossible to
    name a few, he’s also Angelina Jolie’s dad.) and Sherri Shepherd (Think
    Like A Man).

    I personally enjoy sports related dramas, things along the lines of
    Coach Carter, Remember The Titans and Invictus to name a few. I’d say
    that Woodlawn is one of those movies that will leave you with a good
    feeling after you’ve watched it, especially since it’s a true story.
    I’d even consider it a spiritual kind of film, even if you’re not the
    most religious of people. It’s a story about persevering against all
    odds and using the talents you’ve been given to the best of your
    ability, using them to make a difference and a positive impact not just
    on yourself but on everyone you come into contact with. It shows what
    we as people can achieve if we really choose to work together
    regardless of differences. It reminds us of the value of teamwork and
    standing up for what you believe in no matter what. It helped remind me
    of what can be accomplished if we push forward in spite of obstacles
    and temporary setbacks.

    Whether you’re into sports or not, religious or not, athlete or not,
    I’d really recommend that you watch this film. It’s definitely worth
    your time. 🙂

    For my other reviews, feel free to check out tomhuang03.blogspot.com

  • delanos53-170-482861April 21, 2016Reply

    Stayed up very late to finish watching this. Totally captivating

    I am a Christian and sometimes I see some movies that don’t really tell
    it. Not only is it Accurate but It told it like it is. I felt really
    good after watching it. I had never heard this story before. Heard
    about it from a friend I think. If your not a Christian and don’t want
    to be one you might just have your thinking changed. I dare you to
    watch it. Like they say in the movie it shows the power of 1, One way.
    Hope you all will watch it. When God show up miracles happen. I know
    first hand about them. Two or Three times I should have died but am
    still alive. I guarantee you won’t fell worse after watching this.
    Excellent directing and Cast and very good cinematography. From what I
    can tell very close to the true story. Real life characters. Real life
    Truth.

  • Scott PaulApril 29, 2016Reply

    Get ready to have Christianity shoved down your throat…

    They really should have warnings on movies like these. I was hoping to
    watch a film that illustrated our civil rights achievements, but
    instead I ended up turning it off after it was only half finished…
    And I’ve never ever turned a movie off until the end until now.

    Sorry, but I don’t need to be preached to about how some magic man in
    the sky and his fake son have contributed to everything good in the
    world… The reality is that MANY terrible atrocities have been
    committed under the guidance of religion and relatively few people use
    religion for the greater good.

    I’m sure this could’ve been a great film if it were to have been made
    without the dominating religious theme, but for the director I’m sure
    that was 100% of the reason they made the film.

  • the-angry-cubistMay 14, 2016Reply

    Heavy on the preaching, light on the sports history

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Davis PMay 23, 2016Reply

    Poorly made film

    This movie is next installment in Christian films made by the movie
    company, PureFlix. PureFlix is also the company that brought us the
    God’s Not Dead films, so obviously I was not expecting all that much. I
    held out hope for Woodlawn, I was hoping it would be an improvement,
    that maybe, just maybe they would learn from their mistakes with
    previous films, but they did not. Alright, for starters, the acting was
    very disappointing, this is supposed to be a powerful, moving story,
    and the actors’ performances should show that, but they seemed totally
    unengaged. There were many scenes that were just plain cheesy and fake
    looking. Sean Astin, oh my, has it come to this?? His performance was
    the weakest of all. Also, Jon Voight was completely stale and
    lackluster, no energy whatsoever in his acting here. This movie is so
    formulaic and unoriginal, you can pretty much predict almost every
    single thing that is going to happen. And they are not even trying to
    hide the blatantly obvious fact that this is a propaganda film, The
    advertisements and phone numbers to call during the final credits
    cemented that fact. That was very disappointing, like I totally
    understand it’s a Christian film, but there is a difference between a
    Christian movie and a Christian propaganda movie, just tell the story,
    without the advertisements. The movie is just simply weak, I am not
    disrespecting the story it is based off of, or the Christian beliefs
    that are expressed. I am simply saying that the filmmakers were weak in
    this screen adaptation, they didn’t do the story it is based of off
    justice. No redeeming qualities here, 1/10 for Woodlawn.

  • ericaharris1908May 28, 2016Reply

    Great movie

    I love actually decent Christian movies. Yes it’s predictable but very
    powerful. The truth on display. The power of God. If people would just
    believe. All the problems in the world are because people won’t
    believe.God is going to win. The movie was well timed. The movie had
    good back stories. Christ overcomes all barriers. No racial division,
    no economic divisions, just people loving one another through the love
    of Christ. Jesus Christ, He is The Truth, Jesus is The Life, and Jesus
    is The only way. Real life is God’s way. No hatred, no evil, no
    selfishness. The script was clean and engaging. The actors perfectly
    played their parts. The emotions of that time were well displayed. The
    message that love conquers all rang loud and clear.

  • ScarletViewJuly 7, 2016Reply

    A decent film but dragged down by the weight of piousness

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • SnoopyStyleSeptember 3, 2016Reply

    sincere football-religious film

    Birmingham, Alabama is in the depths of segregation. With bombings and
    political upheaval, Alabama coach Paul Bryant (Jon Voight) invites
    integrated USC and gets beaten in 1970. Three years later, Woodlawn
    High School in Birmingham gets integrated. It is an uneasy time when
    500 black kids are bused into a school of 2500 white kids. Football
    coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) struggles to maintain peace until
    unknown pastor Hank Erwin (Sean Astin) comes in and converts the whole
    team. Tony Nathan is a young black player on the team.

    The most compelling scene happens in the first fifteen minutes. After
    that, it becomes a very standard football religious movie. It’s
    sincere. It’s sometimes a little on the nose. To generate drama, the
    movie makes the government the villain who oppose the religious aspect.
    It’s par for the course in a religious film and it hits on the emotions
    hard. This may not be a great film but it is well-made and sincere.

  • kosmaspSeptember 27, 2016Reply

    Inspirational

    You gotta believe. If you don’t, it don’t matter much, because there
    are others who do and they will persevere. Something along those lines
    could be the message of the movie. It doesn’t mean that everything will
    always be good, but you can either be a cynic about it or enjoy this
    for what it is.

    Based on a true story this surely takes liberties (no pun intended).
    I’m pretty sure that other believes may have similar inspirational
    stories, so depending on your stance and your willingness to dive into
    the Christianity aspect of it (and all the hurdles thrown into its way
    of course). If you can and want to, get to watching, otherwise forget
    about it.

  • josiahkwhiteMarch 28, 2017Reply

    Civil rights history gets nearly overshadowed by all the preaching.

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • latinfineartApril 5, 2017Reply

    Really outstanding effort. beautiful film.

    My guess is that if this film did not have so much of a religious, or
    Jesus theme, the score would have been far, far higher. I am a
    spiritual man, but not a religious man, nor a Christian. But, the film
    was very inspiring. If you can just separate yourself long enough from
    the Jesus aspect of the film, it is a wonderfully enjoyable film. The
    roles played by the coach, the assistant coach, Tony’s character, his
    family, his woman, and the ridiculously silly and inane high school
    principal, and the board of education super freaks, were outstanding.

    It was a story of unification during troubling times. It was about open
    minded, intelligent, creative, kindhearted people who refused to
    believe the hype, when it came to racial hatred, that was so prevalent
    at that time, in Alabama. Very inspiring. Very well made. Kudos to the
    creative team. Very realistic.

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