Prayer Focus
Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG for some mild language and sports peril

Reviewed by: Chris Monroe

Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Families, Teens
Action/Adventure, Drama
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
Featuring: James Caviezel, Mary McCormack, Jake Lloyd, Bruce Dern, Brent Briscoe
Director: William Bindley
Producer: Martin Wiley, William Bindley
Distributor: Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films

Family Answers HOME page

A town future is riding with one man.

The first ever hydroplane boat race in the United States is said to have taken place in a little midwestern town in Indiana. Madison, the name of the town and of this film, is based on a true story and shares the struggle of a man who loves not only boat racing, but also the town that has gained its identity from it. His struggle is not only to win a boat race, but to win something for his family, his town and even himself.

Set in the summer of 1971, Jim McCormick (James Caviezel) works with a team of men on the town’s prized racing boat Miss Madison. Despite a depleting job market, Jim agrees to manage the boat racing crew and be with the sport and town he loves, rather than pursuing more lucrative work elsewhere. With no history of ever winning a race and an increasing loss of credibility with his friends, his town, and even his wife Mary (Bonnie McCormack) and his ten-year-old son Mike (Jake Lloyd), he continues to follow his passion and rallies to revitalize the spirit of the people.

Rated PG, this movie was exceptionally clean and wholesome. It is the kind of movie that does not leave you feeling polluted at the end due to unnecessary foul language or inappropriate subject matter. Near the beginning, the ten-year-old son uses the word “damn”, but his dad quickly corrects him, telling him to watch his mouth. No other foul words were noticed. The only jarring images involve at least two fatal boat crashes, but do not involve showing dead bodies.

One of the strong suits of the film is the emphasis on family. It is subtle, but because it seems so rare to see such healthy familial relationships in movies, it was something that certainly stood out. Jim is constantly spending quality time with his son, teaching him and investing in him. Jim is also a devoted husband, and while he and his wife have struggles, there is a nice moment of reconciliation between the two. Other worthwhile values represented and affirmed here are true friendship, hard work, perseverance, commitment and faith.

Another subtle value that seems to be pieced together throughout the story is that of belief in God. While it is not mentioned directly, there is a moment before the dinner meal that the family takes to pray. Though the moment is interrupted, the implication is that saying grace before dinner is a ritual for them. We also see the family attend church at one point (though the moment is humorous due to the race boat-shaped offering basket). And during the final race, as my friend who attended the screening pointed out to me, Jim’s wife, Mary, is shown wearing a necklace with a cross on it.

As with other films, the character that James Caviezel plays is one with integrity, faithfulness and a general attitude to do the right thing. Though he is not a perfect man in this story, he is a man of the people and aspires to do something for the good of everyone. In the end, it is a done-right, feel-good adaptation of a true story. And when you go, be sure to stick around for the credits which show the actual footage of the real Jim, Mary and Mike McCormick during a highlight of their life.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/nudity: None

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I found “Madison” to be a clean and inspiring story about winning against the odds and not being ashamed of who you are. Another appeal was that I am a hydroplane racing fan, so I really enjoyed the race scenes. To me, it had a similar feel to “Miracle.” I left the theater inspired. I thought it was a good, but not great, movie. James Caviezel did a great job in the leading role. It was definitely worth the price of admission, and I will be buying it on DVD when it comes out.
My Ratings: Good/3½
—Mark McKenzie, age 36
Positive—We enjoyed the movie “Madison” very much. The movie is somewhat predictable—the little guy (and the little town in this case) prevailing after a contest where the odds against them were great. Throughout, the central character hydroplane racer Jim McCormick shows devotion to his wife, son, friends and community. Unfortunately, the producers were a little lazy in developing the adversity (the Miss Budweiser racing team) by portraying them as arrogant big-city people from a well-funded team. In reality, this was never the case, even in spite of the fact that they’re sponsored by a beer producer. On balance, the movie is heart-warming and inspiring. I’ll definitely purchase a DVD copy when it’s released.
My Ratings: Excellent / 4
—Brad, age 46
Movie Critics
…The result is a feeling of quiet heroism-people doing things because it’s right to do them, even if it’s not easy-that fires a hope for them to succeed…
—Michael Esposito, Chicago Tribune