How often to you come upon a documentary - a kind of film that can't afford to use fiction to draw emotions from - that makes you cry? Especially if you're not prone to crying at movies. Well, Williams was certainly my first experience of that sort, and that alone merits a high regard for this film. But that's definitely not the film's sole quality.
There's something magical about Williams, both the film and Frank himself. Maybe that's the secret only the Brits possess, because everybody - and I mean _everybody_ - in this documentary looks as if they are professional actors: handsome, deep and oozing that charm of something really big going around. Or maybe that's the spell of Formula 1 working on me after all - even though I'm absolutely not a fan of F1 -, who knows.
All I know is that the story this film tells is not simply about a certain racing team's ups and downs. It's not even about a certain man's personal ups and downs, even though those are quite big and dramatic on their own. It's a story of real people, a family, going through several decades of challenges life gives them, having to both overcome the problems coming from outside and deal with the way racing business shapes their lives as a husband, a wife, a daughter and a son.
That Williams family, it's a peculiar one. If you enjoy reading people's characters, you'll find this film especially delightful, because, on many accounts, it feels like a confession for everyone involved. For Frank, who's been so obsessed with racing that he openly put his family to the second place of his life priorities. For Virginia, his wife, whose story of meeting and living with that man deserves a melodrama of its own but is given us without sugar dusting instead, with all the harsh details mentioned. For Claire, Frank and Ginny's daughter and the current Team Principle, who's been on a lifelong mission to prove herself worthy, as a woman and as a second child, of her father's shoes, against the preconceptions of the industry and the jealousy of a family member.
That might actually be the reason why this film is so deeply touching. Because what that family has come through is so profoundly complex and at the same time so relatable, that no fiction movie screenwriter could have done a better job than what life itself did. And no professional actor could possibly convey as much emotion, both expressed and contained within, as those people did by just being sincere to themselves and to each other for us to watch. Especially Claire, who has to be as strong-willed as her dad but at the same time feels entitled to have emotions and attachments to something besides those roaring metal beasts. Her face, her voice, showing beautiful strength and determination, but at the same deep never-going sadness, is something that one could win an Oscar for, if only they were faking it instead of just living their life.
Some things words just can't describe. So, whether you like deep psychological drama or are just a keen fan of this sport, make sure you don't miss this film. Can't guarantee that you'll deeply regret it otherwise, but, using the film's last line, it's certainly possible.
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