There is a scene in the documentary Gleason in which its subject, pro footballer–turned–ALS spokesperson Steve Gleason, talks about the unexpected path his life took five years ago when he was diagnosed with the disease around the time his wife, Michel, became pregnant with their child, Rivers. "People will say, 'Oh, it's such a sad tragic story.' It is sad, so they're right, but it's not all sad. I think there's more in my future than in my past. I believe my future is bigger than my past — so that's uplifting, that's inspiring."
Gleason, which is directed by Clay Tweel, is, without question, a four-hanky weepie that follows the former New Orleans Saints player and his family as they adjust to a degenerative disorder that gradually takes away Gleason's ability to walk, to move, and to speak. But it's not a film that wallows in misery — instead, it's infused with that combination of tragedy and uplift that he speaks of, as he fights through increasingly difficult circumstances to record videos for his son, to bring resources to others with ALS, to reconcile with the father he's sometimes at odds with, and to spend time with the wife who's tirelessly at his side. The film is an earthy, lovely, and, yes, inspiring ode to soaking up the life you're given.
How to see it: Gleason is now playing in limited release — check out a list of theaters here.