The 2022 Tribeca Film Festival has arrived and one of my most anticipated documentaries of the year has arrived in Kaepernick & America.
Synopsis: Ever since he started to oppose police brutality, civil rights activist and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s actions have reverberated worldwide as shown in this documentary.
The film opens with a person talking about how he bought a Kaepernick military jersey when his dad was dying of cancer, and he cut the American flag off the jersey and set fire to the jersey in a grill. It follows with a montage of people talking in favor and against what he did. From Donald Trump to Barack Obama to random people in the streets, Kaepernick’s actions had a ton of reactions.
The documentary starts at the roots of Kaepernick’s time in the National Football League with the NFL Draft. We see it announced that he was drafted, followed by Jim Harbaugh talking about Kaepernick and the intangibles he had heading into being a starting quarterback. I love that they got Harbaugh to speak about him because people forget how good Kaepernick was on the field. They like to remember those last few moments after Harbaugh was fired and the team was in rebuild mode.
The documentary gets deep fast with the world becoming more and more unrest after the police kill one person after another. The country’s social unrest didn’t just affect those ‘normal people’ but changed the course of Kaepernick and how he looked at the essential things in life. We witnessed the aftermath of Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem, and it was wild to watch the live footage of people’s reactions without even attempting to understand why he was doing what he did.
The film breaks down the why and the why that no one wanted to listen to because they were too blinded by one man trying to stand for something he believed in. But, I always appreciated Nate Boyer’s stance and how he wrote him to try to understand and when he did, he helped Kaepernick make that move from sitting to standing. If more people listened with an open mind, we would move further along within life.
Overall, the documentary is powerful, insightful and well made. I do wish we saw Kaepernick speak within the documentary because that was a glaring hole in the entire film, but ultimately the storytellers used the footage to make sure his voice was heard. It is a well-made movie that I think a lot of people need to watch.