Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a high school basketball prodigy. He had a future in the game and just walked away from it all. Now he’s older, does manual labour and spends his evenings soaked in alcohol. He’s separated from his wife, and it transpires that they lost a son to cancer.
Out of the blue he receives a phonecall from a priest at his old school and is asked if he would like to coach the basketball team. Reluctant at first, he takes the job on. Reigniting his love of the game, he finds something to distract him from drink and depression, giving him another shot at redemption and a way to finally face his demons.
Affleck really shines in the role. He wears his pain on his sleeve and you kind of get the feeling that the role spoke to him on a deeper level. There is also a great chemistry between Cunningham and the team. The team have their own personalities that really shine through, and you want them to do well. The scenes with Cunningham and his estranged wife are also handled well, and you can see the raw emotion there. Janina Gavankar plays his wife Angela, and she does great. It doesn’t feel like a throwaway role, and really shows how grief can tear a family apart.
A touching movie with a good story and everyone on top form. It’s also not as predictable as many other sports movies that may have a similar story.