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‘We Are Marshall’ tells true story

September 21, 2012
By Tom LaVille , Times-Republican

This week's film at the Orpheum is based on a true story. In November 1970, virtually the entire football team and their coaches of Marshall High School in Huntington, W.Va. were killed in an airplane accident. This catastrophe shook the nation and devastated a community. One player, Nate Ruffin, a player who had been sick and missed the tragic flight lead a movement in their community to convince the board of governors to let the school play in the 1971 season. The school had to find a coach, who in turn had to find players for the team, then had to petition the NCAA to allow freshman to play on the varsity team. All this was accomplished by coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey).

"We Are Marshall" is the type of film that calls all of one's emotions into play. It has plenty of laughter, tears, anger and frustration. The new coach travels his own journey of self discovery while teaching the new team about winning. Woven within this gridiron story are the stories of the families who survived the plane crash victims. How these survivors found the strength to move on from the tragedy is one of the strongest elements for the viewing audience to take away.

This movie is loved by football fans and non-fans alike. Its sports story is motivating and its "rising from the ashes" from tragedy into the sunshine of hope is inspirational. As with some movies that tend to inspire hope this one may get a little sappy at times. I also found some of the acting a little stiff. But overall, I am a sap and tend to enjoy this type of movie. The movie is rated PG and is one that parents as well as teens would enjoy.

The show times are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theatre for tours, or call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit


Tom LaVille is a retired Marshalltown drama and literature teacher and is heavily involved in the Marshalltown Community Theatre. LaVille's Critic's Corner column appears Friday in the Times-Republican.



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