12 Mighty Orphans Review – Triumphant, A Winning Feel-Good Film

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12 Mighty Orphans, from Sony Pictures Classics, present the true story of triumph over adversity as a group of forgotten orphans meet a football coach who changes the world of football and transforms the forgotten ones into champions.

The film begins with a stream of angry, dejected, beaten, and bloody, football players filing into the locker room, and a coach quietly saying, maybe we should call this game right now.

The film then moves back to where this adventure started, in 1938, with voice over from Martin Sheen. The audience sees a forgotten time in history, the dustbowl, and the great depression of the 1930s.

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Hopelessness, despair, and an unsettling cultural phenomenon of Darwinism which caused many to drop off their children at orphanages around the country as it guaranteed they would be provided shelter, food, and some level of education.

We meet Coach Rusty Russell, played by Luke Wilson, as he is driving through the town of Fort Worth, Texas, the compassion he feels toward the conditions he sees is palpable. It is a deep, dark, hopeless time in America.

He arrives at the Masonic Widows and Orphans Home, where we meet Frank Wynn, played by Wayne Knight, Juanita Russell, played by Vinessa Shaw, Sheriff Red Wright played by Ron White, and orphan newcomer, Hardy Brown, played by Jake Austin Walker, and a few of the others including Snoggs, played by Jacob Lofland, and Douglas Fairbanks, played by Levi Dylan, and Doc Hall, played by Martin Sheen.

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Life for our orphans is about to change, as Rusty Russell, a celebrated war hero, and winning high school football coach has been hired to instill in these near men, a new identity. No longer hopeless, orphans, no good and abandoned, his daunting task is centered on uncovering their true identities.

To deem them underdogs would be a stretch. With each hurdle, Rusty Russell, and Doc Hall, move this group closer to a unified team. And with each victory over the system, they become more confident. As the first practice begins, we understand the uphill battle the coach and the team are confronting. More than the physical, he needs to break down the feelings of inferiority, the emotional baggage they carry after years of abuse and abandonment.

For Rusty it was more than simply coaching. It wasn't until the team began to win, that his story was exposed he himself was an orphan.  Recognizing that his scrawny players couldn't beat the other teams with brawn, Rusty developed innovative strategies that would come to define modern football.

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After the first game, and first loss, Coach Russell is working on the offense at the dinner table when his daughter copies his circles and by sheer luck, happenstance, kismet, fate or divine inspiration, she creates the shift offense and Rusty Russell implements it into play and revolutionizes the game of football.

Soon the Mighty Mites, with their triumph over adversity determination, has captured the attention of the nation and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, played by Larry Pine. Soon we see the changes, the confidence, the clarity of thought.

As in all good stories, there is the antagonist, and 12 Mighty Orphans is no different. While many wanted these boys to see their potential others, those who wanted to maintain control, wanted them to belief the destructive, worst about themselves, which sets up the finale.

12 Mighty Orphans is a feel good, triumph over tragedy and circumstance story that is always needed.

The cast delivers solid performances with clear character arcs and emotional challenges. 12 Mighty Orphans is a true story and doesn't end as the final credits roll. With brief follow-ups on each of the players, we see how one season, one person, made these forgotten one's difference makers, NFL football stars, war hears, scientists, stable and thoughtful.

12 Mighty Orphans, a triumphant, feel-good film, opens in New York City and Texas June 11, 2021, and will hold its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival June 18, 2021. See it.

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Country: USA.

Language: English.

Runtime: 118minutes.

Director: Ty Roberts.

Writer: Ty Roberts, Lane Garrison, Kevin Meyer Based on the Book by Jim Dent.

Cast:  Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, Treat Williams, Ron White, Slade Monroe, Jacob Lofland, Levi Dylan, Preston Porter, Rooster McConaughy, Larry Pine, Lane Garrison and Robert Duvall.

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