Overcomer: Is the 2019 Movie Based on Real People?

‘Overcomer’ is a Christian drama film that revolves around John Harrison, a high school basketball coach who is given the task of training Hannah Scott for a cross country race by the school principal, Olivia Brooks. The task itself might not be challenging for somebody with John’s experience in coaching, but teaching isn’t the problem – it’s the student herself. While determined, Hannah has asthma, which would make it difficult for her to run cross country in the first place. But would determination alone would be enough?

Directed by Alex Kendrick, the 2019 film stars Kendrick himself in the lead role as John Harrison. Joining alongside him are Priscilla Shirer, Aryn Wright-Thompson, Denise Armstrong, and Cameron Arnett. An inspiring film, ‘Overcomer’ is about tackling the hurdles that are put in place throughout a person’s life, no matter what they are. But is there a true inspiration behind such an inspiring film? Worry not, for we have the answers for you!

Overcomer: Inspired Fiction, Not a Real-Life Story

No, ‘Overcomer’ is not based on a true story. The film is an original story that director Alex Kendrick was inspired to write when he was visiting cross-country events for children back in 2011. “It was 2011, and I was at one of my kids’ cross-country events. I saw a lot of dads coaching their kids, speaking to them, and affirming them, and I remembered Paul in Scripture talking about how life and faith are sometimes like a race. And you want to finish well, you wanna cross the line and finish well…,” Kendrick said in an interview with CBN News.

The one who is running the race in the film is young Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson), who, despite having asthma, has faith in her ability to finish the race. This correlates with the original idea of life and faith being like a race which Kendrick had. But what kind of faith is it? Faith in oneself? Or faith that others have in you? Turns out, it’s all three of them at once. Hannah’s determination to compete in a cross-country race in spite of her asthma comes from her faith in herself. But when all everybody around you does is look at you with pity and believes otherwise, even that faith can shake.

Therefore, the importance of surrounding yourself with those who have faith in you is one of the central themes of the film. Another major theme in ‘Overcomer’ is identity. Hannah is again used as a focal point to depict this theme; abandoned by her parents, Hannah lives with her grandmother. This makes her question her self-worth as she doesn’t know where she comes from and what her parents were like beyond what limited information her grandmother has given her.

In other words, Hannah isn’t sure of who she is as a person. Speaking on the concept of identity, director Alex Kendrick said, “Our culture wants to say your identity is what you feel or what culture says about you, maybe some status, job status, financial status. And all those things can change, so who are you when what you’re known for is stripped away?”

Adam and his brother Stephen Kendrick, who acts as co-producer on ‘Overcomer,’ are both devout Christians. In the same interview, Stephen revealed that after the success of their last film, ‘War Room,’ Adam and him both believed that the idea that Adam had was something God wanted them to work on. And it is this faith that brought to life such an inspiring film. Though not a true story, ‘Overcomer’ stays true to its themes of faith, identity, and religion.

Read More: Best Christian Movies of All Time