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Woodlawn ~ Review


Racial unrest and violence was destroying Birmingham, Alabama.  Desegregation mandates brought many new students to Woodlawn High School.  Tony Nathan is one of those who joined the 1973 Woodlawn student body.  A talented football player Tony experiences firsthand the unrest that is erupting across the city.

When a sports counselor requests time to meet with football team amazing and miraculous changes are about to begin in Alabama and especially in Birmingham.  A message of love rather than hate, of forgiveness affects a change that spread across a hurting city.

This is a powerful and moving movie.  It is amazing how much time has passed since this movie was set and yet we are still struggling with many of these same issues.  It is sad that we learn so little from the mistakes of the past and are so quick to deny what can bring change and healing.

We all have a purpose, a gift 
and we need to live ours.
What is your God-given gift?

I was given access to an advance pre-release viewing of this movie in exchange for my review.

About the Movie:
A gifted high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field in WOODLAWN, a moving and inspirational new film based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, Ala.
Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille) lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.
It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Gerelds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.