Concussion—directed and screenplay by Peter Landesman/from a story by Jeanne Marie Laskas/starring Will Smith (as Dr. Bennet Omalu), Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, David Morse/2hr 3 min/rated PG-13
Bifocal Reviews written by Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR) I’m a big football fan. This movie upset me, when I realized one of my most treasured pastimes is enjoyed at the expense of the players possibly suffering serious, brain injury. The performances were all excellent, but for me the most outstanding was that of Albert Brooks and Alec Baldwin. In this competition, I give the slight edge to Albert Brooks. Will Smith had the accent of Doctor Bennet Omalu, spot on. However, with all the star power, he was the only one who I felt was just a great actor doing his job. Brooks and Baldwin never appeared to be acting at all. Gugu was good too, and so easy on the eyes. Though I’m sorry about the overall, important message of the film, I’m glad that this information has come to light. Let’s make the game as safe for the players as it is enjoyable for us fans. I give this film 3-and-a-half binoculars.
(OG) I don’t have much experience with football. It’s not my sport, but I do have an interest in TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and related problems, as they are spotlighted in this movie. About 15 years ago I was rear-ended while at a stop on the freeway. As a martial artist of about 40 years experience at the time—where people had been trying to knock me out for decades, but no one ever had—I could not understand why I could not remember the fender-bender, or how what seemed a little bump could cause such big problems in my life. Again, at the time, TBI was not something that was in the national (medical or general) consciousness. When I had severe mood swings (both crying and laughing uncontrollably) and told my doctors that I couldn’t think properly, they thought I was lying or that I had a more severe concussion than first believed. One doctor who did some scans of my brain finally said, “You have the brain of a person who is twice your age.” This movie very accurately depicts the brain injury syndrome eventually discovered by Doctor Bennet Omalu. The acting is absolutely excellent, from Will Smith, to Albert Brooks, to Alec Baldwin, to Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Let’s add a special thanks to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Matthew Wilig, and especially David Morse for bringing back to lfe those football heroes who had to suffer and die prior to Dr. Omalu’s discovery. I give this film 3 ½ binoculars.
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