AND DIRECTED BY: Darla Rae
STARRING: Ryan Parker, Jason Regier, Wendy Duncan, Gale Grove
Reviewed by Todd Burgett
The Goal is based on a true story of one man’s battle with overcoming a paralyzing mountain bike accident with his Christian faith and the discovery of wheelchair rugby.
First of all, being that this movie is based on a true story, made with a minimal budget and, I’m sure, the most sincere of motives – the next statements will come as maybe harsh for some. The Goal represents the worst of what Christian cinema can be.
What is that you may ask? That a true story combined with sincere motives makes a good movie. In the case of The Goal, it does not. The production values have the feel of the old afterschool specials of the 70’s and 80’s. The acting draws from the “best” of church drama teams. The story could not be more clichéd. In fact, it is worse than clichéd.
How is it worse? The cliché would be passable if it all it kept to this formula: athletic male faces life-altering accident, battles with immortality, pouts, comes to faith in Christ, lives happily ever after. There are plenty of real stories like this one, and unfortunately this story sounds formulaic. The truth is, Christ could be the ONLY hope anyone could have in facing a life-altering catastrophe. All could be forgiven if The Goal simply wanted to convey this truth.
However, The Goal goes beyond such clichés when it becomes a commercial for wheelchair rugby being the real “savior” to the main character’s problems. That is shameless and not redeeming, no matter the impact that wheelchair rugby played in this young man’s real-life journey.
Christian cinema should never reduce itself to mere propaganda – not for Christ, nor for any other lesser entity (like wheelchair rugby). Poor production values (not to mention the cheesiness of the artwork on the CD case), sub-par acting, and unoriginal storytelling do not win audiences even if done with the sincerest of motives.
All in all, The Goal is the throwback to the dreadful Christian cinema that many of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s were subject to by well-meaning parents and Sunday School teachers. May this production be the last of its kind. Unfortunately, I have my doubts. – Todd Burgett
View a clip here.