Knowing that you are going to die is an inevitable fact of life. But knowing that you will be dying soon and can feel it coming, is a whole other spectrum that hopefully none of our readers have to ever experience. This was the case for former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason when he got diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The film “Gleason” follows the video diary that Steve decides to make for his then unborn son before the disease starts to take hold of his mind and body.
Steve Gleason is probably best know for blocking a punt during the Saint’s first game back in the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. They actually immortalized that moment in a statue outside of the stadium because of how much it brought back hope to the entire city.
A few years after that amazing moment, Steve got diagnosed and started filming himself. He knew the debilitating nature of the disease and wanted to leave a legacy for his child before it was too late. The film follows Steve and his friends and family from soon after diagnosis, through ALS taking control of his body, to stepping up to raise money and awareness for the disease.
“Gleason” was a great documentary in every sense. It was emotional and touching, while also humorous and heartbreaking. It ran the feelings gambit for sure. I also really like how at least 95% of it was home video shot by Steve or his family. Many documentaries include videos like this but very few rely so heavily on amateur video footage. Luckily all of it is done well.
I’m not sure why the academy decided to overlook “Gleason” in the best documentary category. I feel it is right on par with other nominations like “Life, Animated” and it’s better than “13th.” I really think they messed up here and it’s worth people checking out.
8.5 blocked punts out of 10