You may not be able to see this in a theater where you are, but by some good fortune it's been playing in the little theater in my little Jersey town the past few days, so last night I went to see it with some friends and was delightfully surprised.
I'd expected either a hatchet job or a hagiographic paen, but what I got was as simple and direct a story about the man who founded A.A. as you would want, if you were interested. My father met Bill Wilson back in the early years of A.A. and he and his program had a deep impact on him and therefore me and the rest of my siblings, let alone my mother and others.
My father has long since passed, he was actually older than "Bill W." (but I was the youngest of seven so I'm still a kid of course). And my father, like Bill Wilson, was a flawed man. Me too. That is one of the pleasures of this documentary, to see the story of a man who created a movement and a program that has saved so many lives yet doesn't skimp on the flaws, even after sobriety, made me thirst to see other documentaries about other seminal figures done this honestly and clearly.
It has the usual documentary techniques, but seemed to simplify them in a way that never lost my interest. There are actors dramatizing parts of the stories, but they never speak, or at least are never heard in their own voices. When the actor playing Bill speaks it's Bill's voice we hear from recordings.
I found myself moved and entertained, both getting wet eyed and laughing out loud at times. But mostly I found myself grateful, that this man existed and persevered in trying to find a solution to "the alcohol problem" for those who are afflicted with alcoholism, and that the filmmakers presented him as both exceptional and ordinary, a drunk and the genius who took what he learned from other attempts to release alcoholics from their craving and obsession and addiction and added his own experience and insights to start a movement that has literally swept the globe bringing solace to a lot of broken souls and their families and friends.
Check it out if you can. Here's the trailer, which doesn't do it justice but nonetheless will give you an idea: