Jeebus, how cynical do you have to be to not be moved to tears by this film?
Granted, it has its flaws (namely, the caricature redneck family, the retard-with-a-heart-of-gold, not to mention a so-so script given undeserved gravitas by the likes of Eastwood and Freeman), but they're forgivable in light of everything this movie does right.
The acting is unbelievably restrained even when the situations could have easily given way to maudlin spectacles, and yet Eastwood and co. are able to emote love and heartbreak so powerfully with so little visible effort.
Tom Stern's cinematography is absolutely fantastic. The use of light and shadows is really breathtaking.
Though the dialogue isn't the greatest, the story is top notch. The first 2/3rds play out like an above-average traditional underdog-overcomes-the-odds sports picture, but this is also a sly set-up to the emotional sucker punch dealt in the final third.