Undefeated (2011) is an inspirational story of Manassas Tigers football team and their coach Bill Courtney. To call it a football or sports film is unrewarding as it a story of social and political circumstances, poverty, privilege, education and inspiration. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2012.
The impoverished community around the Manassas high school football team struggle to change their lives and build success under a great inspiring coach Courtney. The film focuses on daily issues teenage players face, from studying for crucial exams to controlling the adolescent explosive temper, showing the poor sportsmen’s human and sensitive side.
The story is told mostly chronologically, following the team throughout a whole season and fading into the team’s unity. It enabled the directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin to show actual celebrations, arguments and overall emotion in its true colors, in truly moving scenes which couldn’t be caught differently.
The documentary praises Bill Courtney, showing his father-figure speeches and his efforts in the education of these inner-city kids through the sports as well. Undefeated is a true drama, with captivating real-life characters, whose every win and loss you feel. Although it covers a familiar sports story, Undefeated is definitely fresh and enthralling.