Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘Requiem For A Running Back’

Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘Requiem For A Running Back’

On the surface this film is an ode to director Rebecca Carpenter’s father, Lewis Carpenter – running back and NFL veteran.  It details the struggle of living with a father who was a brilliant sportsman who suffered in a personal life tainted by anger, loss of memory, disinterest and confusion.  After Lew’s death his brain is studied and it is discovered that he suffered from a degenerative brain disorder, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and it affected his mental capacity.

His diagnosis creates more questions than answers and Carpenter mounts a 3 year quest for understanding.  Her film has heart and humour and focuses more on the subject of CTE than simply her father’s legacy.  It becomes a requiem for all of the football players who have and are suffering from CTE, and illustrates the lack of empathy and care from the business that is the National Football League.

As someone who is not only a parent, but someone who has suffered from concussion in sport I believe this film is important even though it is not perfect. This film transcends football players and fans and speaks to athletes in general warning of the risks involved with carelessly abusing your body and brain in search of greatness and the ultimate prize.

Carpenter’s film does not answer any questions, but allows the viewer access to doctor’s perspectives as well as testimonies from NFL professionals, players suffering from CTE and their families so that you may cultivate your own opinion.

Carpenter’s commentary on her father and family life is emotionally confusing and breaks the flow of the film. However, when discussing CTE this film is compelling and is a must watch for athletes young and old, as well as their families.

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Sarah has had a love affair the silver screen her entire life. Movies have always found a way to impact her life and she has always connected with the magic it has to offer. With a BA in Honours English Language and Literature, Sarah enjoys translating that magic, and sometimes the lack thereof, to the written word. Sarah is a stay at home mom with newborn twin boys and looks forward to the days where she can share her love of film with them. She counts The Last of the Mohicans, The Lord of the Rings -The Two Towers, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Army of Darkness, Goodfellas, Jaws and It’s a Wonderful Life as some of her favourites.