Thursday, February 16, 2012
The reviews are rolling out. From Manohla Dargis:
If “Undefeated” — a tear-draining documentary about an underdog black football team and the white coach called Big Daddy Snowflake who led them to victory — were fiction it would be easy to sneer. Impossible, you might think, manipulative, grr. Visions of Sandra Bullock marching through “The Blind Side” alongside a gentle African-American giant might invade your head. Yet while “Undefeated” travels well-tilled inspirational ground, it’s also an irresistible story of football, faith and the lust for happily-ever-after black-and-white endings.
An Oscar nominee as best documentary, Undefeated is a sports film that's less about football than it is about a coach, his players and the journey they take together. And it's a terrific trip.
A documentary about a defining season for an inner-city high school football team might sound like it’s strictly for sports fans, but Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin amply transcend that niche with the uplifting underdog story, Undefeated.
..."Undefeated" charts the progress of the Tigers, who start out miserable, gradually gain confidence and victories, and find themselves a real team with a growing sense of self-esteem. It's not as if you can't see it coming. That "Undefeated" is being released in theaters—a rare thing for a documentary and one with an Oscar nomination to boot—says a lot about it. Not least that it's the kind of story that will stir the heartstrings, and even, quite possibly, those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
“Undefeated” is a genuine crowd-pleaser, a rousing and inspirational flowers-in-the-junkyard fable of hope and possibility in grim circumstances.
"Undefeated" presents itself as a look at a single season in the life of a striving high school football team in impoverished North Memphis, Tenn., but really it's about so much more.
But as with many long-term documentaries, "Undefeated" also benefits from the unanticipated emotional moments that take place along the way.
Here's a trailer:
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