Biopics that are equally informative and inspiring are kinda hard to do, aren’t they? In fact, at its basest they can be described as trite and overly reliant on cliché to pull these elements off.
In that light, a part of my basis for “judging” (term used advisedly) films of this is down to my actions following watching the film. Just how interested does this story make me about the truth behind what I am seeing on screen? I have been known to spend hours following viewing a film digging around the internet, hungry for more information to feed that hunger.
This week’s overlooked selection, The Express, fits that bill and is a fitting addition to the collection, as it comes ripe off of the first complete week of the NFL season.
The Express tells the tale of the nation’s first African-American Heisman Trophy winner, Ernie Davis of Syracuse University. For my non-sports enthusiasts out there, the Heisman Trophy is an award voted by a select panel and given to the nation’s top collegiate football player.
Certainly the film ticks all the boxes that make biopics so endearing and reassuring to American audiences about what is possible to us if we are determined and believe. In spite of this, I did not find it overly saccharine or schmaltzy. That may be due in part to the history-making feat being followed by the decidedly profound tragic turn that came immediately after.
Even if you are not a sports fan, I think you will appreciate this film.