HomeEntertainmentGo On, Be Brave | Film Threat

Go On, Be Brave | Film Threat

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! I’ve heard of ALS before, but admittedly I did not know much until filmmakers Miriam McSpadden and Brian Beckman’s inspirational and insightful documentary Go On, Be Brave. The main subject of the film is the courageous and charismatic athlete Andrea Lytle Peet, who amazingly attempts to be the first person with ALS to compete in a marathon in all fifty states.

Andrea was diagnosed with the condition at the young age of thirty-three, with many people dying within the first five years of being diagnosed. However, that five-year mark is an important marker for Peet because of the life expectancy, so she decided to take on her near-impossible challenge after five years of living with ALS.

ALS robs people of their ability to walk, speak, feed themselves, and ultimately use their lungs to breathe, all while the mind stays as sharp as it was before. It’s heartbreaking to watch Andrea and others in the film go from being such active, independent people to suffering from this debilitating disease.

Another interesting (and cruel) fact I learned from the movie is that athletes are more prone to getting ALS. People who played a varsity sport in high school are twice as likely to get it than those who did not (Andrea specialized in triathlons previously, doing one more after being diagnosed). Doctors quickly point out that this doesn’t mean people should avoid sports or exercise because the chances of getting ALS are still so low (with fewer than 20,000 US cases per year).

“…amazingly attempts to be the first person with ALS to compete in a marathon in all fifty states.”

It’s impressive for anyone to complete a marathon in every state, let alone someone dealing with ALS. Andrea’s supportive husband, David Peet, is just as impressed, although he knows precisely how incredibly resilient his wife is. 

I have to say that the inspiration of the film and Andrea Lytle Peet’s spirit and determination floored me to the point of joyful tears. Despite every reason to feel otherwise, she stays generally positive, good-natured, and strong-willed. There’s one particularly touching scene near the end of the documentary where Andrea is struggling up a gigantic hill with her husband by her side. A group of friends rush over, providing encouraging words, and then start singing the Rocky theme music that’s so familiar to us all. Rocky ain’t got nothing on Andrea.

Kudos to McSpadden and Beckman for documenting this story while following Andrea for over three years, including the lockdown from the pandemic, during which we all know that there wasn’t much of anything happening during those dark days. The movie forces you to take a closer look at your own life, and you realize that your challenges don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to someone dealing with something like ALS. 

I was told that Andrea and the film received two standing ovations, and she rolled down the red carpet in her trike at the world premiere of Go On, Be Brave. I would have loved to have seen it. What a hero and a role model, so much more deserving that the typical athletes that we grow up idolizing. 

Go On, Be Brave screened at the 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.




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