I spent the entire time watching Champions with either a smile on my face or a tear in my eye. (And often both at the same time! As did my husband!) It is honestly, the most heart-warming film I’ve seen in years.
Champions is a sports dramedy directed by Bobby Farrelly (of the Farrelly Brothers who brought us the comedy classics, Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary), and is a remake of the Spanish film, Campeones. Woody Harrelson plays a former minor-league basketball coach who is court ordered to lead a team of players with intellectual disabilities, called the Friends.
As you go on the journey with Coach Marcus (Harrelson) from a miserable, lonely, has-been, to a kind, caring and likeable good guy, you as the audience learn the same lessons he does. To quote from the film, “’Impossible’ is an opinion, not a fact” and my eyes were opened to how very true that actually is.
Champions gives us a much needed insight into the lives of people living with intellectual disabilities and delivers it with careful vulnerability. It also is genuinely funny and has so many laugh out loud moments.
Harrelson and his co-star, Kaitlin Olson, are amazing; but the real stars are the Friends. This group of actors with disabilities are make their acting debut in exemplary fashion! They remind us how lucky we all are to not face the challenges they do, and also how much joy there is to be felt every single day, regardless of the hard times.
Harrelson said in an interview, “I haven’t had much experience with people with disabilities, so I didn’t know what to expect and I’ve got to say, it was probably the most enjoyable experience I ever had making a movie.” Well Woody, the love and camaraderie that is seen on screen between the cast felt completely authentic and watching it certainly made for one of the most enjoyable film experiences I’ve ever had.
People with disabilities are a minority group we don’t see represented enough in the film industry. We need more movies like this.
Champions come in all shapes and sizes and this film, in my opinion, lives up to its name in a big way!
In Cinemas 9th March. Find out more here.