Friday, September 10, 2021

Hood River Review: Race and Class Collide In This Sports Documentary

Release date: September 10, 2021
Running time: 82 minutes
Directed By: Steven Cantor and Jonathan Field

In a small Oregon community, a high school soccer team struggles to overcome class and racial divide in a quest for both individual and team success. While Domingo deals with the deportation of his father to Mexico, and Eric painfully learns how to become a captain and command the respect of his Mexican-American teammates, Coach Riviera struggles to keep the team together amidst the pressure of academics and athletics. This coming-of-age feature documentary focuses on the friendship and maturation of three characters and is set against the backdrop of a segregated American town. Will Domingo graduate? Will Eric become a leader? Will the Eagles win a state championship?

Hood River is an understated documentary that looks at a lot more than I originally expected.  It starts with a great sequence that highlights the class disparity in this community that could be emblematic of America as a whole.  This seems to have two classes of citizens that divide largely along racial lines.  And seeing these differences is eye opening.  The film also uses smart editing to highlight this, when one player's concern is trying to make all their own healthy meals and a different player on the same team is dealing with some intense family crises.  Seeing this disparity is a great way to highlight the difference in perspective, and it also uses this to show how that can affect team chemistry and on field performance.  All of this is told through the lens of this small, Oregon soccer team that has the potential to be great.

I really liked following this team through their season, through their ups and downs, and really seeing what the interactions between the players were like.  Some of the best scenes are seeing the kids just being kids; but then it is equally interesting to watch some of them step up or try to figure out how best to help the team.  I also appreciated the film highlighting some very difficult subjects and also these kids willingness to share their story.  One of the players had a very tough family issue that was showcased and another player has some important revelations that could make some of his earlier concerns seem trivial.  And it was heartwarming to see these kids learn about each other and make an effort to understand; something that a LOT of adults could use a lesson on.  And the soccer itself is a lot of fun to watch, I was cheering at every goal and holding my breath at some of the nail biter matches.  

And although I did very much like Hood River--this is a documentary that is basically made for me--I do wish it was longer.  I wanted to see more of the matches, although the film did have a decent number of them.  It seemed like some were skipped in the build up, but I was hoping to see a march through the team's season.  It also did not explain why some players were out for games.  Maybe it was a privacy thing but I was wondering why some very vocal players did not play in certain matches, just because I had gotten used to them.  And I also wanted some sort of conclusion in the film, something that showed what happened to the players we spent so much time with after the fact.  Are they still playing?  Did some play in college?  

Hood River looks at race and class through the lens of small town soccer, with good lessons in hard work, empathy, perseverance, and leadership.

Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Hood River is available digitally and on demand on September 10, 2021.  

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.  

No comments:

Post a Comment