Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Concussion earns Will Smith a Golden Globe nod

Movie Title:    Concussion

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG-13

In a Nutshell:    Will Smith rightly deserves the Golden Globe nomination he earned from his role in this “David vs. Goliath” story.  His Nigerian accent is great and his depth of emotion superb.

This is not the typical underdog football story.   It’s based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who tried to go head on with the National Football League when he discovered a medical link to brain damage and playing football.

The end of the movie mentions Junior Seau’s recent suicide.  I remember how traumatic that announcement was because Seau and his foundation had just given one of my sons a college scholarship.  We were heartbroken to hear the news.  I remember being shocked and wondered how someone who seemed to have everything would choose to end his life.  Now I understand a little better.  This film presents important information and does it in a very tasteful, interesting way.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Need is not weak.” – Dr. Bennet Omalu  (Will Smith)
  • “You have to be the best version of yourself.  If you don’t know what that is, you pick something and fake it.” –  Dr. Omalu
  • “If you know, you must come forth and speak.” – Prema Mutiso (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
  • “When you have truth, the thing you are told you cannot do is the thing you must do.  Embrace that and nothing created by man can bring you down.” – Prema
  • “The gift of knowledge is a great gift, a dangerous gift.” – Dr. Omalu
  • Guilt, integrity, honor, respect

Things I liked:
  •  I loved the imagery and use of hands throughout the entire movie.
  •  Alec Baldwin makes me laugh, even when he’s in a dramatic role.
  • I always appreciate it at the end of movies when they tell you what has happened after the movie left off.  The statistics presented are sobering.
  • I thought it did a good job being sensitive to all the football fans out there.
  • Albert Brooks was made to look like a balding, older man.  Young fans will recognize his voice from the huge Pixar hit “Finding Nemo.”  They’ll be happy to know that he still has a full head of hair.  He provides some much needed humor to this cautionary tale.
  • I appreciated the respectful discussion about religion vs. science.
  • Paul Reiser and Luke Wilson play roles, although small ones in the film.

Things I didn’t like:
  •  You will see a lot of football collisions and crunches.
  • Fans hoping to see a lot of football action will be disappointed. 
  • It’s tough to say who the target audience is for this film and who will or can take action after seeing it.

Funny lines:
  •  “I had quite a revelation tonight.  This body was made for dancing.  When they say dancing machine, I am what they mean.” – Dr. Omalu
Interesting lines:
  • “All we have to do is finish the game.  If we finish, we win.” – Mike Webster (David Morse)
  • “I am not interested in common sense.  I’m interested in science.  Science is knowing.” – Dr. Joseph Maroon  (Arliss Howard)
  • “The NFL owns a day of the week.” –  Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks)
  • “Everyone has been in the dark and you have turned on the light and given this Boogeyman a name.” – Dr. Julian Bailes  (Alec Baldwin)
  • “Tell the truth.  Tell the truth!” – Dr. Omalu
  • “There is no coincidence in this world.” – Prema
  • “If you don’t speak for the dead, who will?” – Prema
  • “You know, it is a mindless, violent game…and then it’s Shakespeare. I mean, to me, it’s like life that way.  I know you can’t see how exciting and beautiful all that is and I don’t blame you.” –  Dr. Bailes

Tips for parents:   

  • There is some profanity.
  • This is a serious, slow-moving “talking” movie that may bore young children.
  • Discussion of suicide and miscarriage.
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