But this was more than just a football game. Rafferty tries to tie in the tumultuous, culturally revolutionary summer of 1968, which he cites as another difference between the rivals: Yale was largely marked by a bunch of privileged, pro-Vietnam blue-bloods, while anti-war Harvard strove for diversity in its student body and athletic teams, best exemplified in the film by then-Harvard linemen Tommy Lee Jones (a poor boy from Texas whose roommate was Al Gore).
Rafferty’s approach is remarkably straightforward — the film consists entirely of crosscuts between modern-day talking-head shots of the former players with vintage footage of the game. No graphical inserts, stylistic flourishes, outside interviews (though references to then-Yale students Gary Trudeau and Meryl Streep are a welcome addition) or period music, which might have added another layer of ’60s flavor and atmosphere. And while Rafferty’s insular, no-frills approach synchs well with the Ivy League setting, one never gets a sense that the outside world truly impacted the players as much as they or the film might claim. Grade: C
Opens June 5. Check out theaters and show times, see the film's trailer and find nearby bars and restaurants here.