Monday, December 12, 2011

(Review) THE HAMMER's Message Of Enduring In Spite of Challenges Hits Home

by Cyrus Webb

***** (5 out of 5 stars)
TapOut Films/ Fifth Year Productions
A Film Harvest Production

On Saturday, December 3, 2011 I was allowed the opportunity to have the new movie THE HAMMER shown in Central Mississippi to an audience at the Pearl Public Library in Pearl, MS. I have to admit that before being introduced to the project I had never heard of Matt Hamill or his story, but after reading about him and watching the film, I can't say he is a person I will find easy to forget.

Written and produced by Joseph McKelheer and Eben Kostbar and directed by Oren Kaplan, THE HAMMER (rated PG-13) takes you not only into the extraordinary accomplishments of Matt Hamill but the challenges that made them possible as well. We see from the very beginning when it is discovered that he is deaf that his grandfather was not going to allow him to be anything but the best person that he could be. Instead of allowing Matt to go someone that he might more easily fit it, his family pushed him to learn that which he did not know and become a part of the world that some might have wanted to shut him out it.

It wasn't always an easy adjustment. We see in the film that Matt (played by Russell Harvard) could be stubborn and throw a fit when he got frustrated or things didn't go his way. One of the first things we see his grandfather really instill in him was this: "If you're not gonna believe in yourself, I'm not going to." That was really all it took.

The lessons that I took away from THE HAMMER are many, and I think that people of all walks of life could appreciate them as well. When it comes to focusing on the objective at hand, I think we can all learn a little something from Matt. Before competition we see him go off to himself,sit down and close his eyes. This, in effect, shuts the world out and allows him to focus. When asked by Kristi, the woman who would become his wife, how he was able to beat so many people, he answered by saying: 'I just block everything out.' That is what it takes when we are going to be targeting our own objectives. We have to go into our quiet place and be able to shut out the rest of the world so we can focus on the objective at hand. What a priceless lesson!

Another great one came from his grandfather, and it was when Matt felt down in the dumps and like nothing was going his way. "Why do you think you have a right to feel sorry for yourself," his grandfather asked him. For us there are times when we want to throw a pity party for ourselves because something didn't happen the way we thought it should. If we can only remember what Matt was told and how he had to rise above it, we can find a way to do it in our own lives as well.

Wonderfully produced and directed, this is the kind of film that will remind us of the importance of enduring in spite of challenges and give us motivation to tackle the mountains in our own lives.

Find out more about the film and the real-life counterparts at

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