Coach Tandy Geralds only believes in what he sees in front of him. All he sees is a broken high school in Alabama forced to integrate two racial groups who desperately do not want to associate with each. Coach Geralds, also the assistant principle, is overworked, is unpopular with the school board, and is failing as a husband and father. His players are frustrated with integration and racial tensions flare easily. Tony Nathan, an underappreciated African-American athlete, is among them, yet he has been raised to treat people, regardless of skin color, the way Christ treated them. Everything changes for the team one day when Hank, an itinerant and seemingly offbeat sports chaplain, convinces Coach Geralds to let him talk to the team. At the end of his rope, Tandy reluctantly agrees. What ensues from there is a miracle that transforms the football team, the high school, and the city. One thing leads to another in a miracle season for the Woodlawn Colonels, but everything grinds to a halt one day when they are faced with adversity after adversity. But in the grand scheme of things, each character learns in one way or another that there is one Way, one Truth, and one Life—Jesus.
Production Quality (3 points)
The Erwin team went all out for this blockbuster production that was designed to reach outside of the Christian movie circles. The camera work is phenomenal, ranging from difficult football scenes to character canvasing. As an epic, the story covers a lot of time, but the editing is seamless. It is very difficult to make an epic without being too long or without letting important plot elements fall by the wayside. The editing team walked this tightrope flawlessly. The inclusion of alternate and historical footage throughout the movie is an artistic flair that was pulled off nicely. This is not a cheap production, and it shows.
Plot and Storyline Quality (3 points)
As previously mentioned, epic plots are very hard to craft. Too long, and the audience is lost. Too quick, and no points are driven home. Too often in potential epics, character development is discarded and scenes are wasted. Neither of these mistakes occurred in Woodlawn. Despite the large amount of plot and character content in this movie, nothing is missing. The dialogue is concise yet profound. There are no wasted scenes. As a side note, Box Office Revolution maintains that movies based on real events are among some of the best on the market. Nothing could be more true regarding Woodlawn. The plot twists and turns just as real life does and the historical characters are adapted well.
Acting Quality (3 points)
BOR has long called the Erwin brothers the Masters of Casting. There has never been a character in their movies that was not cast in the absolutely appropriate role. Veterans Sean Astin, Nic Bishop, Sherri Shepherd, and Jon Voight are excellent in their roles, along with newcomers Caleb Castille and Joy Brunson. All actors are coached well.
BOR can find no flaws in Woodlawn. It also can be awarded the x-factor point for delivering an important topic packaged in a masterful epic. The Erwin brothers have reached the pinnacle of their career, and there is no turning back now. The Christian movie industry is at their fingertips, and BOR expects nothing less than the best.
Final Rating: 10 out of 10 points