My Run tells the true story of a man, Terry Hitchcock, who lost his wife to breast cancer and chose to run from St. Paul, MN, to the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA, in order to bring attention to and support for thousands of fellow single-parent families across the nation. In total, Terry Hitchcock ran 75 consecutive marathons in 75 days and covered 2,000 miles of highway on foot. He was neither an avid runner nor physically-fit, yet accomplished his mega-marathon goal through support from his family, friends along the way and his faith in God.
From the Press Notes: Having made an impressive impact on the film festival circuit, My Run embodies the importance of having a belief that the average person can accomplish anything, even when deemed an impossible feat. My Run is more than a film about running; it is a film about the daily marathons everyone must face in life.
My Review: Not as moving or impacting as several recent documentaries I’ve seen concerning man’s struggle against overwhelming odds. Of God’s and Men stands out because it reminds us of why we should deny ourselves, putting others and God before our own desires –the self-sacrifice being noticed by people and honored by God.
My Run keeps telling us that faith is an element that motivates Terry Hitchcock, yet there’s little if any screen time given to revealing Terry’s spiritual walk. No prayers are spoken, no Bible time is portrayed, and no fellowship with fellow believers is witnessed. We simply hear the narrator tell us that his determination comes from family and faith. My problem with this oversight is that the quest seems motivated and fueled more from a human desire than a spiritual devotion. That doesn’t diminish Mr. Hitchcock’s achievement, but the slightest of glances into Terry’s Christian devotion would have given an extra dimension to his crusade. Still, it is worth viewing.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton, My Run will be released on DVD nationwide September 20, 2011. Not rated, I found nothing objectionable. For more information about the film please visit www.myrunmovie.com and follow My Run on Facebook and Twitter.
Here are a few other documentaries concerning man or creature vs. life’s obstacles.
In the Shadow of the Moon (2005). The incisive documentary features the accounts of the surviving members of the Apollo teams who walked on the moon. At one point, we hear Charles Duke from the Apollo 9 mission give his testimony. I couldn’t believe my ears; a man was declaring his faith in Jesus Christ and there were no snickers from audience members. Indeed, my fellow moviegoers were moved, realizing that there is something far bigger than man, or even space itself. (PG)
Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2005). Based on a best-selling novel, Beyond the Gates of Splendor premiered on DVD October 4, 2005 from Fox Home Entertainment. I mention it because this past year a dramatic version of the story was released called End of the Spear. I personally found the earlier documentary version a more powerful film. It also recounts the chronicle of those five missionaries and their families, but this documentary is more successful at capturing the faith, forgiveness and cultural boundaries. Narrated by the son of one of the couples, it uses historical footage and personal insights to reveal how the two groups came to understand then embrace each other.
The documentary catches the spirit of people who trust so much in God that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to follow His will. Beyond the Gates of Splendor is a moving testament to those who have taken Christ’s teachings to heart and given all in order to save the soul of man. It is an emotional journey that will give you new insight concerning foreign missions and a deepening respect for missionaries.
Steep (2009) is an interesting documentary about men – and women – who live for danger. Like surfers searching for the tallest wave, extreme mountain skiers attempt to conquer the highest and most inaccessible adversary. Best moment: Three skiers are photographed from a helicopter while getting caught in an avalanche. Not only a thrilling, armrest-grabber of a moment, the aftermath also shows a camaraderie known only to those who risk their lives together. Now, that’s awesome, dude. PG
For All Mankind (1989). This documentary about Neil Armstrong's flight to the moon is a beautifully made film for the whole family. (G)
More Than A Game. Five talented young basketball players from Akron, Ohio are featured in this coming of age documentary about friendship and loyalty in the face of great adversity. Led by future NBA superstar LeBron James, the "Fab Five's" improbable nine-year journey leads them from a decrepit inner-city gym to the doorstep of a national high school championship. It’s about facing adversities, it’s about fathers and sons, it’s even about faith. Clean, insightful and entertaining, “More Than A Game” is one of the best sports documentaries I’ve seen. (PG)
March of the Penguins (2005). A fascinating documentary about penguins, raw nature and survival, it’s full of unworldly locations and amazing cinematography, and most importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. (G)
Earth. (2009) Narrated by James Earl Jones, Disney’s nature documentary tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their journeys across this planet we share. Mesmerizing, the visuals alone are breathtaking, as the documentarians approach the wonder of our world with the same magic and majesty found in March of the Penguins, and Winged Migration. With scale and drama the production follows five main topics: the Earth and the Sun, Great Migrations, Adaptation and Habitat, Predators and Prey, and Life Cycles. A picture is worth a thousand words and a thousand pictures are mind-blowing. (G)