Academic level football in the USA is almost regarded as highly as pro football. It is rare to find a coach at the academic level who is more interested in the well-being of his players than winning games. That’s exactly how volunteer coach Bill Courtney approached this challenge delivering a remarkable season of football that changed every player’s life.
“You think football builds character. It does not. Football reveals character.” These words from Bill Courtney sum up the movie brilliantly.
The documentary by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin just took home the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and deservedly so. They showcased this inner-city high school football team’s struggles and triumphs in their 2009 season.
The success lies in the focus of the film. The story of the coach and three of the starting players; each of whom had different issues in their lives, was examined brilliantly. There was enough time for the audience to become invested in not only the games, but more importantly the personal stories behind them. You can almost feel every emotion as if it were your own wanting for their success as much as they do.
Technically, the documentary is shot and recorded very well. Whenever the deep Memphis, Tennessee accents became too difficult to understand, or the recording wasn’t loud enough, subtitles appeared to keep us engaged.
Bottom Line: Football fan or not, you’ll be wrapped up in the emotions and solid filmmaking of this movie.
Runtime: 113 minutes