12 Mighty Orphans – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Ty Roberts
Starring: Luke Wilson, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, Jacob Lofland, Levi Dylan, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen
In cinemas now
This true-life sporting drama is a story that many people on this side of the world won’t necessarily be familiar with, since it is set in the world of American Football. It follows a ragtag team of orphans in the late 1920 s who are given the opportunity to play in the national high school football league when a new coach Rusty Russell (Wilson) arrives to teach at their home. Initially, unruly and unmanageable, they blossom as they begin winning games and they become a national sensation with the support of the whole country behind them.
I must admit that my knowledge of American Football is practically non-existent, so the sporting references in this went over my head completely. However, at the heart of this is the story of the boys and their personal growth. Well, I say boys but many of them look far older than the characters they are playing and indeed, a quick search show that they do have several years on these real-life subjects. It is not unusual though to cast older actors in younger roles when sensitive subjects are being handled. A quick search also shows that some artistic licence has been taken with some of the background stories of these real-life characters – but why let facts get in the way of a good story, right?
That aside this is a very sweet film that manages to remain just the right side of sentimental. These underdog sporting biopics have been done before and done better but this is engaging enough to keep you watching until the end and does leave you with the warm fuzzies. It’s by no means flawless but if you’re looking for a gentle watch that will warm the cockles then this is it.