Gracie is a 2007 soccer film produced by the Shue family. Most film fans are familiar with the Shues, including Andrew (Melrose Place) and the super sexy Elizabeth (Leaving Las Vegas, Adventures in Babysitting). Both Andrew and Elizabeth appear in the film, and I must say, it’s Elizabeth’s second-best sports movie (behind The Karate Kid, which still has the best montage in sports movie history, fittingly set to “You’re the Best Around”).
The story is very personal to the Shues as it is loosely based on their real lives, with the main fictional character Gracie being styled on Elizabeth herself. If you’ll recall, Ms. Shue showed off a few of her soccer skills by juggling a ball in The Karate Kid. She plays Gracie’s mother in the film, with Andrew playing the role of the local high school varsity soccer coach.
The film takes place in the late 1970s when high schools still did not have girls’ soccer teams. Gracie is a fifteen year old with incredible soccer talent, which has been nourished by her older brother Johnny who is a varsity soccer star. After Johnny’s tragic death, Gracie vows to take his spot on the boys’ team, but she is blocked by the school and discouraged by her father (Dermot Mulroney), who does not believe women can play sports with men.
When her dream looks like it will die, she begins to self-destruct much to her parents’ chagrin. Her dad finally comes around and helps her appeal for the right to play with the boys. She wins her appeal and makes the JV squad, giving her the choice to play the sport she loves, a choice so many girls had previously been denied. Sure, Gracie is the classic cliche sports movie where the underdog overcomes the odds, but it’s well made and its message of gender equality is still important today. I recommend you check it out.