Title: The Rebound
Director: Shaina Allen
Starring: Mario Moran, Jeremie “Phenom” Thomas, Orlando Carrillo
Runtime: 1 hr 16 mins
What It Is: This story follows the Miami Heat Wheels as they redefine what it means to be differently abled in a traditionally able bodies sport, all the while working towards the National Wheelchair Basketball Association championships.
What We Think: Various players allow the audience insight into their lives and answer questions that naturally we may have about their story and overall abilities, but they also make sure to tell us about everything they enjoy where their physical barriers seem to disappear. From the Miami aesthetic to the narrative composition, you can’t help but love the story being told. We’ve gotten to a point in our society where different doesn’t mean bad and different isn’t the end all be all of getting to where we want to be in life. But there are times where we lack the representation of differently abled people and it is a beautiful step in the right direction of more prominent visibility. Not only is this documentary a great highlight into the sport of wheelchair basketball, but it is informative beyond the basic rules and regulations. The players work just as hard as able-bodied basketball players on top of fighting to be seen. They constantly battle to have their worth taken seriously and to have their accomplishments celebrated, but this film also highlights that there is a community out there helping to provide a platform for these players (beyond that of the filmmakers).
Storytelling aside, director Shaina Allen does a phenomenal job of showing us Miami in all the beauty that we know it to be. This one is a mixture of conventional and unconventional and it works. Never losing sight of the people who faced all odds to be a part of such a beautiful community.
Our Grade: A, I’m a real stickler for documentaries. What’s the point of the film? Does the topic move society forward as a whole? Is there an obstacle or is this a talking head spewing wikipediable facts? This film is not only necessary but it does the topic justice. The story may be that the Miami Heat Wheels want to win the championships, but who are the people beyond that. In these cold winter months, nothing is more satisfying than ending the year on a fire film like this one.