In the early 70s, Cathy Rush becomes the head basketball coach at a tiny, all-girls Catholic college. Though her team has no gym and no uniforms -- and the school itself is in danger of being sold -- Coach Rush looks to steer her girls to their first national championship.
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It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time, and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball. In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women's Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College. Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she's willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals-or perhaps she's just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them. From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no ... Written by
I saw the Mighty Macs in a preview screening tonight, and came away impressed.
First, the themes, or messages, of the movie are good ones. The movie is about a small, cash-strapped girls' school that hires a basketball coach who has visions of greatness. She tries to bring the team around to her vision. So the first theme explored is the theme of staying the course, overcoming obstacles and struggling through adversity. That theme is pretty standard fare for these underdog stories, but it is done well here, and it is all the more resonant because the movie is based on a true story.
The second theme, as I see it, was about the emergence of women in sports and in life in general, and I liked the way that this theme was presented. Nowadays in movies and in the media I often see the raising up of a woman represented by radical cosmetic makeovers or some other reference to external appearance. In the Mighty Macs, the theater actually laughed when they first saw the girls' uniforms. And in one scene, one of the girls on the team who had very little money was called out by someone outside the team for her rundown clothing. Rather than gang up on her, the team rallied to that girl's help. And rather than getting new uniforms so they could be elevated by the clothes, it was the other way around their inspired play elevated the uniforms, and now the dowdy uniforms are fondly recalled (I know because we got some nice literature from the school at the screening).
Finally, and it's sort of a side note, I liked that there were nuns in the movie, lots of them, and they were not cartoon characters. The movie showed their different personalities; their individuality even amongst their identical appearance, not unlike the team itself. At one point, one of the nuns described her journey toward her vocation, and the treatment of it was entirely respectful. It dignified rather than ridiculed her choice. That should not be remarkable at all, but to me it was, as I almost now expect to see nuns ridiculed.
A fine, fun movie for the whole family.
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