Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Wednesday, Jul 27 2016

Gleason has been misclassified as a documentary. It's a horror film, humane to the core, but meant to disturb. We watch the motor functions of a former NFL player atrophy on screen. The film begins with video clips of Steve Gleason's college and professional seasons, in which, at first, he comes across as a typical jock. But when he meets Michel, a free spirit and the woman he marries, the portrait of a soulful hippie emerges. Gleason starts a video diary of their life together, and shortly after their marriage, he is diagnosed with ALS. When Michel becomes pregnant with their son, Rivers, the diary then turns into a series of recorded messages for his son. Steve's entries are increasingly poignant as he slowly loses the ability to move, speak, and care for himself. The camera doesn't flinch from showing a marriage tested by the vow "in sickness and in health," but Gleason never feels salacious or intrusive. There's also an unexpected subplot that revisits the difficult relationship between him and his religious father's concern for his immortal soul. Ultimately, it's astonishing to watch a dying man plead for the sanctity of his spiritual life. All of his embarrassing bodily functions are on display, but nothing feels more intimate than having dominion over your own soul.



Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"