(out of 5)
Football movies are frequently rich with dramatic intensity, but this exceptionally constructed documentary shows that the game can be accentuated by high stakes tension in real life as well. It focuses on a Memphis high school where successful business owner Bill Courtney volunteers as football coach. A number of the young men on his team come from economically depressed backgrounds and their group does not have a great history of winning, their personalities frequently clashing and their commitment to playing often hindered by the obstacles they must surmount in their personal lives. Courtney’s devotion to making them better players, and then through lessons about character and discipline trying to make them better men, is felt most effectively by three individuals who become the film’s unlikely stars, their struggles with anger issues and their reaching for achievements like a college education despite their poverty making them ripe for the triumph over adversity narratives that a good documentary can deliver so very effectively. Gorgeous cinematography and a tight pace also help make this exceptional work, the reality behind a movie like The Blind Side, memorable, and the ending builds to a heart-swelling conclusion.
Cinematography by Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Film Editing by Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Academy Awards: 2011