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In Blue Springs, Montana, high school student Roy Chutney is beginning to lose his way in life largely the result of two simultaneous events. The first is that his father, Nelson Chutney, dies. Roy hadn't seen his father much since his parents divorced and his father remarried. Nelson was run over by a train, but Roy's mother, Evangeline Chutney, with who Roy has a somewhat emotionally distant relationship, believes he committed suicide. The second is that because funding to the school has reduced the football program to just a varsity team with no junior varsity, Roy, along with half the other players, is cut from the football squad, as his coach doesn't believe he is mentally tough enough despite he being a skilled player. The two incidents combined make the situation even worse for Roy as football was his primary connection to his father. Into Roy's life enters Gideon Ferguson, the local newspaper seller, who asks Roy to be part of his newly formed football team, which will play in... Written by
I must have been standing next the to the last reviewer in the hallway (at the Park City Library) at Sundance. Morse walked by along with the directors. I managed to corral Andrew Smith and ask him about the movie. (These directors LOVE to talk about their work.)
First of all, this is not a great movie, and may never be fit for the mass market. But it is, I think, a good movie and a very powerful and thought-provoking one. My initial reaction, which I passed onto Smith, was that I was moved by the internal conflict in this unusual coming-of-age story. What kind of man is Gosling going to become? How will he deal not just with the peer pressures and love interests, but with societal prejudices and the essence of humanity, compassion and kindness. Interestingly, I learned that an early tagline considered for the film was something like "What makes a man?"
David Morse's performance is absolutely incredible in this movie. I spoke to a film critic about it and he said he thought Morse was the best American actor that no one has heard of. It is an extremely challenging and enigmatic role that he plays with a poignant, compelling and believable complexity. I was at the same time deeply moved, repulsed, angered and sympathetic. I was reminded that there is good and bad in all of us, and that the demons within are part of the essence of humanity.
Maybe too deep and philosophical for a movie about 8-man football. And that's just it--it's a situational contrast that's unexpected and jarring. If you ever get a chance to see this film, grab it.
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