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Undefeated (3 stars)

Best Documentary Oscar-winner centres on high school American football coach

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Undefeated

The winner of this year’s Best Documentary Oscar, this big-hearted film centres on Bill Courtney, an inspirational volunteer coach for a struggling high school American football team.

A principled straight-talker and a none-more-Southern white Christian husband and father of four, Courtney perfectly fits the stereotype of the American movie coach, even down to his unerring ability to produce a stirring motivational speech in the wake of victory or defeat. ‘Football reveals character’ is his mantra, and he makes no secret of the fact that his role as coach for North Memphis team the Manassas Tigers is as much about trying to set a positive example to the as-good-as-fatherless students as to get them to win football matches.

Directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin’s film never escapes the feeling of being a true story shoehorned into a conventional Hollywood narrative but, even within that structural straitjacket, the people they focus on are worthy of the screen time; this is a valuable story from what one interview subject aptly refers to as the ‘have-nots’ of one of America’s richest sports.

Selected release from Fri 3 Aug.

Undefeated

  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • US
  • 113 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Daniel Lindsay, TJ Martin
  • Cast: Bill Courtney, OC Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown
  • UK release: 3 August 2012

Oscar-winning documentary about inspirational volunteer coach Bill Courtney who helps a struggling high school football team to turn their luck around after a year of losses. A true story given the Hollywood treatment from directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin, but still worthy of screen-time.

Elsewhere on the web

Undefeated - Trailer

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