My All American
Film Review by Kam Williams
Inspirational Biopic Recounts Abbreviated Career of Gridiron Great
Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) was just about the last person you'd expect to see on a football field. But the pint-sized safety somehow made up for it in heart, what he lacked in muscle and stature.
He was trained by his father (Michael Reilly Burke) to always give 110%, which led to his being recruited out of high school by Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart), the legendary coach of the University of Texas. At UT, Freddie was a fan favorite who helped lead the Longhorns to the national title during the 1969 season when the team went undefeated.
Unfortunately, the diminutive defensive back's euphoria proved to be short-lived, for he would receive some very grim news from the doctor just a couple days after spearheading a come from behind victory over Arkansas in a contest considered "The Game of the Century." He'd been playing with pain for weeks, and that nagging leg injury he'd been ignoring was diagnosed as cancer.
Suddenly, Freddie found himself facing the toughest battle of his life. But luckily, he had the support of his family and friends, especially Coach Royal, teammates Bobby (Rett Terrell) and James (Juston Street), and his high school and college sweetheart, Linda (Sarah Bolger).
Freddie Steinmark's abbreviated career and his ensuing intrepid fight against the disease which would cost him, first, a leg and, then, his life is the subject of My All American, a bittersweet biopic written and directed by Angelo Pizzo. While the movie marks Pizzo's directorial debut, he is no stranger to the inspirational, sports saga genre, having penned the screenplays for such similarly-themed, fact-based dramas as Hoosiers (1986), Rudy (1993) and The Game of Their Lives (2005).
This film is likely to resonate most with the faith-based demographic, as its admirable protagonist is truly a throwback, a devout Christian who not only went to church every day but remained faithful to his girlfriend, despite all the groupies at his disposal. Decent acting trumps a fairly formulaic plotline, here, particularly Aaron Eckhart as a sermonizing coach waxing romantic about why Freddie was "My All American."
An uplifting testament to an old-fashioned, real-life hero that time forgot.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for mature themes, mild epithets and brief partial nudity
Running time: 118 minutes
Distributor: Clarius Entertainment
To see a trailer for My All American, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udOir1ucj38