Remember the Titans Reviews
The original T.C. Williams High football captain and All-American, Gary Bertier, was brilliantly played by Ryan Hurst. Hurst turns Bertier's natural aggressive body posture into a less-dominant and respectful-type mannerism in times of tension. Usually, this happens when Washington approaches Bertier with his portrayal of an intimidating and almost humorous type of coaching authority. Another character that was delivered by a talented actor was Bertier's new found friend, Julius Campbell (Wood Harris). Harris also turns his intimidating first impression into a surprisingly timid personality throughout the movie. This was conveyed to the audience when Julius walks into Bertier's white dominant neighborhood for the first time and delivers a nervous stutter when confronted by Bertier's neighbors. Ultimately, both of these actors were able to take the harsh judgements people had regarding their new found friendship and reacted in a way that will surely make the audience feel uncomfortable at times. Later on in the movie the actors were able to warm the hearts of all that were watching by bringing comfort and a sense of brotherhood to both of their characters whenever they would step onto the football field.
Scenes like this captured the hearts of many due to the genius behind the camera, Philippe Rousselot. Rousselot's ingenuity perfectly captured a scene where Sunshine wants to take Blue and Petey to a restaurant to celebrate their win. When Sunshine forces his two friends into the restaurant, Rousselot captured Petey and Blue's desire to hide by creating an over-the-shoulder shot, giving the audience the perspective of the two young men's unwelcome feeling in a public venue within their own town. Shots like this helped depict the society-changing transition this town was going through from both the white and African American perceptive.
The emotions this movie illustrates to its audience is due to the work of Gregory Allen Howard who beautifully wrote the screenplay for this movie. Howard was able to show the audience how to turn tragedy into togetherness with his inspirational, heart-warming, and witty screenplay. As he located a memorable scene at the Battlegrounds of Gettysburg, he had Washington deliver a speech to the players that will surely send chills down your spine.
Howard was able to deliver a lesson of overpowering hate with acceptance in a way that makes the audience form a loving bond towards this movie. This lesson was greatly needed for that time (1971), but also one that our society is in need of today. Because "before we reach for hate; always, always, we remember the Titans".
Remember the Titans is quite simply one of the greatest sports movies ever made. From tensions to touchdowns, the film follows the true story of a high school football team that defies all odds by coming together and overcoming racial differences.
Set in Virginia in the 1970's, the film delves into tensions involving school segregation. A federal mandate to desegregate closed the white and black high schools and students were sent to T.C. Williams High School. Successful football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) was replaced by black coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) in an attempt to suppress negativity from the community. Coach Boone accepted the position and Yoast grudgingly accepted an assistant coaching position. The initial challenge the athletes faced came while attending training camp, however. Tensions rose and fights broke out, but coach Boone kept his team in check. He forced the team members to spend time together and get to know each other as people rather than colors. A morning run to the Gettysburg battlefield was a reminder that the battle the team was fighting was the same as their ancestors'. Once those racial walls were broken down, the athletes returned home where the real challenge awaited them: the responsibility to exemplify what they had learned.
The film shows racial issues of that time period, but spends more time showing the football team's accomplishments. Nevertheless, the film is still an excellent feel-good movie with emotional scenes between athletes and coaches, the Gettysburg scene being one of the best.
Unlike other sports films that focus on successes and trials of individual athletes (e.g. When the Game Stands Tall or 1000 to 1), Remember the Titans is a comeback story about a team's hardships.
Remember the Titans is a step above other sports films because the historical and emotional lessons it teaches are fantastic. The film is a successful interpretation of societal issues from the 1970s while incorporating a high school football team's story of overcoming adversity.