Gleason is an American documentary directed by Clay Tweel and it tells the story of Steve Gleason. He was a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints. He was famous, he found love, but his life changed completely. In 2011, Steve Gleason was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The disease is referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease and it is a rare and incurable degenerative autoimmune disease that slowly robs the person afflicted of his or her motor functions, including eventually breathing—ultimately resulting in death.
The documentary depicts five years of Steve Gleason’s life. This journey begins with footage of Gleason’s youth before the diagnosis and we carry on towards the first changes and birth of his son, Rivers'.
It’s a rare and emotional depiction of life. The division between viewers and Steve and his family falls off. Like a member of Gleason's clan, you follow each emotion, each step of the way, you have the full and clear picture of this difficult journey.
The most inspiring and interesting aspect of this documentary is the message of courage and strength that Steve Gleason shares with the viewer.
He is not the superhero who fights against this terrible monster inside himself, nor the victim of the situation: he is vulnerable, he is scared, but he doesn’t hide. He keeps fighting and he keeps living. He doesn’t want to die.
“Hey, if I die today or on this play than I’m ok, I had a good life and I feel good about kind-of accepting death. At the same time, I think that thought and the actions that followed it, sometimes I think that may be why I ended up where I am right now. Now I think about it and I don’t want to die.”
It’s also a portrayal of a couple who has to face such a difficult new condition and a story of a father and a son, and his willingness to love him in any possible way.
Gleason’s love for his son is tear-jerking. When you watch real life, not fiction it’s impossible not to be emotionally affected. Gleason is the perfect example of how a documentary is capable of pulling the right strings delivering the message it wants to give.
Gleason is a heartbreaking, emotional and mesmerizing two-hour journey that you will not be able to forget. It's a message of hope and a clear invitation to love life. And do not forget: ALS must be beaten with scientific research deriving from scientific research foundation.
The movie will be out on March, the 17th. Have a look at the Gleason trailer below: