Unforgettable, inspiring, and very moving sports drama with a brutal coach taking center stage...
Although I am not a big lover of sports films, I still like these kinds of movies for one reason. They can be about many things not related to the sport itself: determination, defeat, despair, triumph, you name it. Miracle is definitely one of the best sports movies I've ever seen, and it's sports movies like this one that make me eager to look for others of a similar quality. What makes it great is the script, along with the dialogue and the performances of the entire cast.
The one who holds the film together is Kurt Russell as the no-nonsense hockey coach Herb Brooks. This is someone who aims for the top and does not settle for second place. This is a man who wants his team to be the best even with any constraints in time. This is a coach who wants a hockey team to defeat the Soviet Union's team, known to be the toughest team the world has ever known. Why would he stop at nothing to turn a group of boys into men while ignoring his family at home and pushing his players to their physical and mental limit? Is there any reason all of this is worth it?
I could talk about some of the other main characters, primarily some of the players, but I won't. The film really centers around Herb Brooks, something that many other sports films turn their attention away from. Therefore, I don't really remember the names of the players too well from watching this film. But that's OK. I was very engrossed in the coach-player interactions, from the orders to do better on the ice to bitter locker room arguments. There's always a trade-off between improving a player's performance and not abusing him. When it comes to winning the Gold medal in the Olympics, being a soft coach will do no good. It's scary, but true.
If there is one scene that is memorable and accurately represents Herb Brooks's character and the movie as a whole, it is the scene where the team ties with a Norwegian team. Brooks pushes them to do harder with a physically exhausting drill: skate from one line in the rink to the other every time the whistle is blown. Not for ten minutes, or even one hour, but all night. After hearing Brooks yell "Again!" numerous times, you are hoping for him to stop so that the players can rest. Nope. He keeps going until the rink lights are finally turned off.
If you already have lived the historic moment in sports history from the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, you'll know how this movie ends already. Even if you do, the scenes will keep you on the edge of your seat, making you wonder if the team will win the last game or not. Either you'll relive the suspense or experience it for the first time. This film is a great retelling of victory in a time when America started losing hope with the Cold War, soaring gas prices, and other social and political events of that era.
It is also a wonderful tribute to Brooks and the team who reminded us to never stop dreaming. As the actors playing the team members are shown on the screen during the end credits, their names are displayed underneath along with the name of the real people they're portraying and their current occupation. It is too bad Herb Brooks passed away shortly before this film's release, but I'm sure he would very proud of it along with the former team. They have truly brought us a miracle. With this film, we can live it ourselves.
For more information about Miracle, visit the Internet Movie Database.