’30 for 30′ – ‘Into the Wind’: The first Terry Fox run

09.28.10 7 years ago 22 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “30 for 30” coming up just as soon as I dip my foot in the ocean…

My father was Canadian, and many of my childhood vacations involved heading north of the border to visit my aunts, uncles and cousins on that side of the family. One of my cousins had a set of Value Tales books, a series of inspirational stories for kids where, say, Eleanor Roosevelt would learn the value of caring or Thomas Edison would learn the value of creativity. I knew the names of most of the people who were the subjects of the books, if not their stories, but there was one I had never heard of before: Terry Fox, who learned the value of facing a challenge.  

Since the book about him talked about him being Canadian, I asked my uncle’s family if they knew who Fox was, and a weird hush came over the room.

I could tell that he was very important to them, and as I got older I realized how important he was to most Canadians – just mentioning this documentary to my cousins at a family get-together this weekend brought a similar awed hush – and Steve Nash and Ezra Holland’s “Into the Wind” does a wonderful job of capturing why.

The thing about the movie is that Fox’s story is so compelling, so crazy, so innately tearjerking that Nash and Holland didn’t have to do much more than give a straightforward, no-frills account of his attempt to run across Canada on an artificial leg and it still would have been one of the best films in this series. But they did just enough – native Canadian Taylor Kitsch reading from Fox’s journal entries, the occasional attempts to recreate Fox’s POV – that, along with the moving talking head interviews and the abundant footage of Fox’s run, I was pretty much wrecked by the time Fox had to get off the road near Thunder Bay.

The movie doesn’t make Fox out to be a saint – just a young, stubborn, idealistic kid who insisted he could do this thing that everyone else understandably thought was insane. Running a marathon a day across Canada is pretty extreme under optimum conditions; factor in an artificial leg not designed for running, then the cancer clearly returning well before he was willing to see a doctor, and it’s unbelievable Fox made it as far as he did.

A great kid. A great film.

What did everybody else think?

(Also, before everyone asks next week why there isn’t a “30 for 30” post on “Four Days in October,” just know that I’m not masochist enough to want to relive the 2004 ALCS again anytime soon. Sox fans and Yankee-haters, enjoy, but I’ll be back in two weeks with the excellent “Once Brothers.”)

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