The Miracle Season

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
The Miracle Season Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Tragic loss rocks, then inspires team in true sports story.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about the true story this movie is based on and gain an understanding into grief, overcoming tragedy, the power of community, and what it takes to heal.

Positive Messages

All about perseverance, rising above trauma, digging deep, and being part of a team to overcome adversity. Even opponents, top rivals, are respectful and empathetic and aren't treated badly by the "good guys." The characters find positive ways to remember and honor those they've lost. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters female, all have positive attributes. Several must overcome emotional trauma from losing their friend, and self-doubts. Coach is fair, if a bit emotionally distant; she doesn't drive team to win at all costs. Kelly, lost after her best friend's death, eventually trusts herself and her leadership ability. The two women whose deaths spur the story are regarded as loving, motivational figures. Grieving father/widower is understanding and warm. 

Violence & Scariness

No violence shown, but two characters die (one in an accident, which is discussed but not seen, and one of illness), leading to a lot of grief and sadness.

Sexy Stuff

A little kissing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Miracle Season is an inspiring, fact-based sports drama about a high school volleyball team left reeling by their captain's unexpected death in an accident. Her death isn't shown -- nor is that of her beloved mother from cancer shortly thereafter -- but the impact these two losses have on the movie's other characters could be upsetting for younger/sensitive viewers. But other than that and a little bit of chaste kissing between teens, the movie is squeaky clean: There's no strong language, no fights, and no drinking or drugs. And it's full of positive role models and worthy messages about perseverance, teamwork, and finding positive ways to remember and honor those you've lost. Erin Moriarty, William Hurt, and Helen Hunt co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byBlackrock63 August 6, 2018

Super Fun Film

Great film. Team down on their luck strive to regain their competitive edge. Great film for parents to show their child what can be achieved by hard work and a... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byguslisa May 19, 2018

Loved it, tears and all!

This is an intense movie and all 3 moms in our group cried almost the entire time. Although the five 12-year-olds only got sad a bit, no tears. Our kids are v... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bystarserver June 14, 2020


I'm a volleyball player and this is my favorite movie because of the plot AND the realistic volleyball!!!

The only reason I gave this a 9+ is because of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySlytherin Queen August 6, 2018

Predictable, but inspiring true story

Very predictable , but inspiring volleyball story. There are some sad parts where a main charecter dies and one scene where it shows some teens partying, but no... Continue reading

What's the story?

Caroline "Line" Found (Danika Yarosh) is the beloved captain of the Iowa state champion West High girls' volleyball squad. When she dies in an accident, it devastates the community -- especially her best friend, Kelly (Erin Moriarty); her father, Ernie (William Hurt); and her teammates. Coach Kathy Bresnahan (Helen Hunt) is left to pick up the pieces and try to refocus the girls, who understandably can't find their winning groove after the tragedy. Can Kelly and Coach Bresnahan put together a winning season in honor of their fallen loved one -- and for Line's mother, who died of cancer soon after her daughter's passing? THE MIRACLE SEASON is based on the true story of the 2011 West High volleyball team. 

Is it any good?

This movie is a fairly effective, if over-polite, tearjerker, with good sports sequences. The Miracle Season feels a bit too sanitized; even when terrible tragedy strikes, the characters keep their language clean. No one drowns their sorrows, and no one even really gets into an argument. Portraying grief realistically is an extremely difficult line for any film to toe, and The Miracle Season definitely errs on the side of caution. (Interestingly, the filmmakers chose to make the circumstances of Line's death less clean than they actually were; in real life, she was on her way home from a church event, while here, it's a teen party, which unintentionally raises uncomfortable questions that were quickly dispelled in reality -- drugs and alcohol were not factors in her crash.) That ends up making the drama feel a bit limited, preventing viewers from experiencing the full depth of the characters' feelings. Which is a shame, because Hunt and Hurt are both Oscar winners. The former is fine as the emotionally shielded coach; she's believable, but we get little insight into who she is. Hurt, meanwhile, has a couple of affecting scenes as the grieving father and widower. In the lead role, Moriarty ably holds the screen with those two veterans and sympathetically portrays a girl coping with a dreadful loss while becoming what her team needs her to be. And in her brief appearance as Line, Yarosh infuses her scenes with quirky energy and warmth.

Without much in the way of suspense (the title rather gives away the game; we can be fairly sure they're going to compete for the title again, or else it might have been called They Were Unable to Overcome a Tragedy) -- or the emotional danger of exploring the depth of the grieving -- the film still manages to move due to moments like Hurt's scenes. And the volleyball sequences are well captured and exciting because, let's face it, volleyball is awesome. Miracle Season is suitable for most ages and delivers a message of perseverance and honoring lost loved ones.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages of The Miracle Season. How did the characters show good teamwork? Why is teamwork important? What's hard for you when you work with a team, and what's easy?

  • Why might filmmakers choose to alter the facts in movies that are based on real-life events? What changes do you suspect were made here? Is that OK with you? What's the value of telling this story as a drama (as opposed to, say, a documentary or news report)?

  • Which characters do you consider role models? Why?

  • What's the appeal of movies about sports teams? Can you think of others you've seen? What do they tend to have in common?

  • How do the characters handle their grief? Have you ever had to deal with a loss like that? How did it turn out?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports dramas

Character Strengths

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