Most helpful positive review
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding on so many levels
on April 18, 2012
"Undefeated" (110 min.) brings the story of the North Memphis Manassas High School football team's 2009 season. The football team's history is one of losing, losing, losing, until a few years before that a volunteer coach named Bill Courtney steps up and coaches and wills these young men, all of them underprivileged from this inner-city part of Memphis, to greater things. "Coach Bill", as he is referred to by his players, tries to instill discipline, character, and the "team first" concept to them, and what a struggle it is.
The title of this documentary is quite curious, as the team does NOT go undefeated, nor do these young men go undefeated through life. The movie focuses primarily on three of the team's players, including a young man who returns to school as a junior after having served a 15 month jail sentence as a juvenile (it is never made clear what he did to deserve that sentence). Another of those kids the movie focuses on gets injured early into the season and we see him struggle, having lost a sense of belonging (as he is no longer part of the team) but trying to get back into shape in time for the play-offs. There are many incredible moments in this movie that I won't spoil here, but suffice it to say that I welled up on more than one occasion. Special mention to "Coach Bill", who does an incredible job, at the sacrifice of his own family (he has a wife and 4 young kids). Be sure to watch the end credits, as the film makers reveal what became of the pirncipals in this movie after that 2009 season.
"Undefeated" won this year's Oscar for "Best Documentary" and it's easy to see why. Yes, this is a movie about high school football (and if you love HS football, as do I being in Cincinnati, with such a rich local tradition in HS football), but this movie is about so much more. Going into the theatre this past weekend to see this, I had a general sense (or so I thought) about this movie, but I was surprised, elated and yes, moved to tears. "Undefeated" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!