Last Friday VR startup Radd3 invited people out for a free screening of the emotional documentary Gleason. sf.funcheap.com/gleason-friday-night-film-showing-berkeley/
Gleason was a recent hit at Sundance because it is a compelling personal journey through struggle and triumph. CatsAndVR is a site focused on VR but since I attended this screening due in part of a VR startup I feel compelled to write a review. Plus this is a much see documentary.
I must start out by saying MY words cannot really describe who Steve Gleason is, how bad ass his wife is, and how important this movie is to watch. The words of Steve Gleason himself in this film is the only way to understand the personal journey this film captures.
One quote in particular captured this film for me in particular. After attending a statue ceremony for honoring his contribution to the City Of New Orleans Gleason deals with some heart-wrenching physical struggle and loss of body control. His quote after that scene brought on an emotional sense of understanding from many in the audience.
“It's an incredible example of the polarities, dichotomies and juxtapositions that is my life.
The film thoroughly captures these polarities, dichotomies and juxtapositions with such artful direction it reminded me of Forest Gump. Except this is real life and the direction is the honest heart of a man spilling his life in front of us. The film was created from video clips that Steve created in order to make sure his unborn son still had a father in his life despite Gleason's struggles with ALS. Gleason is also the story of a very strong Mother and Wife who also shows us what a true fight really is. To quote Michel Varisco Gleason on the whole situation that was turned into the documentary "This is a mindfuck"
That may sound comical to a degree but how else can you describe this. It is this honesty that Hollywood can only dream to capture. It is this honesty that makes this documentary so powerful. This is REAL life not a movie and you will cry.
Yes I admit I cried, I cried when Steve goes to a faith healer on advice of his father. This really hit home and my heart because my mother once took my little brother who has Cerebral Palsy to a faith healer. I cried because my brother sincerely asked my Mom at that point if this would make him walk. This same emotion of anger towards the world, disbelief in goodness, disbelief in an aspect of GOD, a place of darkness and sadness that I felt at that moment is what I saw in Michel Varisco Gleason's eyes in that scene and I cried. The faith healer did not help Steve and did not help my brother but both Steve and My brother have more faith and healing hearts than the world could understand. People like Steve is what we understand as Faith, People like Steve Gleason is what the concept of Christ is based on.
You can wikipedia who Steve Gleason is but I will answer it simply. Who is Steve Gleason? A Father, A Football player, a human being. A man who just wanted the best for his son. A man who just wanted the best for humanity. A man who legitimately used his struggle to make the world a better place. A man who used technology to create a better world. In that way I tie it back to VR, is not making the world a better place the real goal of technology.
In closing people need to see this movie and understand not only Steve Gleason's impact as a human being but our own potentiality to make a real change in the world. Also I do really believe that his story should not only win an Oscar but also be made into a feature length with Steve Gleason played by Chris Pratt with his fee going to help ALS.