Movie Review: Unstoppable – The Rebecca Nagel Story

Following in the wake of Against All Odds: The Alwyn Uys Story comes Unstoppable, an inspiring sports documentary about Rebecca Nagel from writer-director, Stefan Enslin. Years after a car accident leaves Rebecca paraplegic, she endeavours to finish a tough half marathon trail event completely unassisted in a wheelchair.

A triumph of the human spirit story, Unstoppable: The Rebecca Nagel Story follows a determined fitness coach who undertakes the challenge to complete a grueling endurance race in a wheelchair. Unstoppable draws an emotive quality from its nostalgic photo album bits, introducing present-day Rebecca and retracing the events that led to L1 paraplegia – losing the use of her legs. A spirited, tenacious and proud young woman, the documentary’s title speaks to the same never-say-die attitude Nagel lives by, echoed through her interviews. A real fighter, this tender and tenacious account of her story centres on the big race day and preparations in getting mentally and physically prepared to conquer an off-road event not geared towards wheelchair competitors. Taking the same course, the documentary is filmed on an alternative day in order to have more time and space to capture the monumental achievement.

unstoppable rebecca nagel film

“Time to conquer another day.”

While fairly predictable in terms of the story’s grand buildup and retrospective, things don’t go to plan, forcing the filmmakers and Rebecca to problem solve on-the-fly. Determined not to have any assistance, Rebecca’s defiant spirit comes through even more strongly as the documentary takes a few unexpected twists-and-turns.

A beautiful opening sequence sets the tone for this sports documentary about pushing the limits, adding a level of finesse that sustains itself. Offering a unique perspective, creating awareness about living with disability and choosing to win the mind over matter game every day, Unstoppable is a true inspiration. While you may think you know how it ends, this fiery character study is compelled by a tough beauty, making it an honest, entertaining and enjoyable human interest piece. Enslin’s documentary hits some snags along the way, but remains a visually-striking, tender yet tenacious character portrait and spirited account of triumph over adversity.

The bottom line: Rugged

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