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5th Quarter, The (Blu-ray Review)

23 Aug, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 8/30/11
Box Office $0.4 million, $22.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13’ for thematic material, some language, medical images and brief smoking.
Stars Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell, Ryan Merriman.

A heart-wrenching portrayal of one family’s real-life tragedy, The 5th Quarter not only inspires, it also provides hope.

Luke Abbate (Stefan Guy), a high school football star from Powder Springs, Ga., was just getting his life started when he was killed in a horrendous car crash, leaving his close-knit family in a state of despair. Steve (Aidan Quinn) and Maryanne Abbate (Andie MacDowell) tried their best to be strong for their other children, Adam, Rachel and Jonathan (Ryan Merriman), which proved to be their hardest life challenge yet.

While carrying the burden of grieving over Luke and trying to get back to life as normal, Jon, a linebacker for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, channeled his heartache for good, dedicating the season to his younger brother. In the process, Jon, wearing Luke’s jersey number, 5, became the heart and soul of the team and gave them a much-needed push to finish the season on top, with a record 11 wins and two losses. The community also was revitalized by Jon’s drive and began calling the fourth quarter of the game “the fifth quarter.”

It’s hard not to be moved when you see such an uplifting situation unfold. The 5th Quarter does a good job of evoking emotion while also showing how faith in action produces excellent results. In their darkest hour, God strengthened the Abbate family, and, in turn, their experience is providing encouragement to others. In that respect The 5th Quarter is a big success.

A meaningful extra on the DVD is the making-of featurette, which introduces us to the real-life Abbate family. In addition to director Rick Bieber, Quinn and MacDowell explaining the importance of retelling this story, the Abbates share their mission of preventing similar reckless driving accidents among teens, in hopes of saving lives.

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