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The 25 Best Movies Of 2012 (So Far)

19. Undefeated

Directors: Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

Undefeated, the winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, is proof that resonant characters and honest emotions can trump familiarity—even more so if those characters are real-life people.

Directed with non-intrusive, observational clarity by first-time documentarians Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, Undefeated follows the Manassas Tigers, a high school football team in Memphis, TN, coached by a great man named Bill Courtney. Over the course of one particularly dramatic season, the Tigers achieve excellence both on the gridiron and off, despite many negative forces.

Lindsay and Martin focus on Courtney and three specific players, each representing a different facet of the squad’s collective resiliency. The directors also benefit from capturing a few spontaneous moments of teary-eyed, unscripted warmth that can only come from the documentary format.

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