A film that evokes strong emotion from the opening minutes, We Are Marshall draws you in and never lets go of you until the very last frame. A true story, it lovingly unfolds the story of a small University in a proud but small town in West Virginia with a strong sense of community and a tradition of excellence and pride in its football team, The Thundering Herd.
Tragedy struck on November 14, 1970 when a chartered plane carrying the football team, its coaching staff and many prominent fans and boosters went down near Huntington, West Virginia just short of the runway after clipping the tops of trees on a hillside nearby.
We Are Marshall is a worthy tribute to all that were lost that day. Matthew McConaughey, who in my estimation is a hit-and-miss actor (Exhibit A&B:Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner) certainly redeems himself here (not unlike U-571) in an enthusiastic, artful and convincing performance as coach Jack Lengyel who was hired for the impossible job of filling the shoes of former coach Rick Tolley, who was lost in the crash.
David Strathairn, in the best performance I've seen from him is University President Donald Dedmon who also has the equally impossible task of first convincing the town and the University's board that the right thing to do is to rebuild the football program and then to recruit a coach as well.
Highly recommended, a great family movie, We Are Marshall also includes a requisite but well-done tribute at the end.