McFarland, USA Review


Emily Christ, Staff Writer

McFarland, USA follows the life of Jim White, who is fired from his job as a football in a nice neighborhood in California, and his family who move to a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood—McFarland, California. It is a whole new experience for the family, and the first night is hard because it is so different from their normal life. Jim begins to teach a McFarland High School and starts a cross country team at the school when he notices how fast the boys at the school run from school to the pickers’ fields. Most of the children have to wake up at five a.m. or earlier to work in the fields before school, then rush to the fields until late at night after school. All but three of the seven boys are almost forced to run; for example, one boy has to run to get out a major punishment. The boys go on to run in several meets and start off rough, but finish strong. Jim White and his family grow to love McFarland, and the people definitely have a profound effect on the family.

This movie was very inspirational, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. The fact that this is based on a true story makes it so much more real and moving as well. I liked that it challenged social norms by focusing on a Mexican American neighborhood, especially when immigration is such a huge issue today. At first, Jim judges the people of McFarland as delinquents and sketchy people, but as he gets to know them, he realizes that they are just normal people although their lives are slightly different. Disney also portrayed the Mexican Americans as normal people by having the Whites assume most of the people spoke little to no English, when in reality, they all spoke English very well, although Spanish was their first language. It did seem at sometimes Mexican Americans were being stereotyped, but I trust that Disney did their research and verified the culture of the people at the time of this event.

This movie is a story about persistence, hard work and teamwork, whether it be in times of joy or times of sadness. McFarland became the Whites’ new home, and the people really did support them; one example is when Jim’s daughter was in a dangerous situation. The cross country team also always supported Danny, the slowest runner, and never discriminated against him for not being as fast as the rest of them. As a runner, I hope my team can be as dedicated and hardworking as the cross country team. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone, and it is appropriate and enjoyable for all agesJ