Rating: 2.5 stars
The arc of high school history bends toward victory in “The Miracle Season.” But you already knew that from the title of this tear-drenched sports melodrama.
The movie fictionalizes the aftermath of the 2011 death of Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh), a brash and beloved girls volleyball star in an Iowa depicted here as idyllic. She departs from the story early, leaving the team weaker physically and emotionally. Yet losing Line motivates the three other major characters to step up their games.
Line’s lifelong best friend, Kelly (Erin Moriarty), must replace her pal on the court while keeping her in her heart. Line’s kindly dad (William Hurt) must reconcile himself to the loss of both his daughter and his wife in short succession. And icy, inarticulate coach Kathy “Brez” Bresnahan (Helen Hunt) must locate her voice — and her humanity.
Her friend showed her “how to live,” Kelly explains in the sappy voice-over introduction. By movie’s end, the whole cheering section is wearing “Live Like Line” shirts.
Director Sean McNamara, who has made a score of unmemorable movies, stages the volleyball showdowns effectively, even if the outcome is never in doubt. The rest of the film has a cozy TV-commercial vibe, pumped by tunes from Katy Perry and the inevitable Neil Diamond. It’s no champion, but it’s still a reasonably good cry.
PG. At area theaters. Contains sad thematic material. 99 minutes.