The saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman," is a cliché for a reason. While in 2015 the paradigm of the man working while the little lady stays home and raises the kids is outdated and insulting, it is still a choice some women today make. Specifically, the wives of men with careers that stretch much further than the typical 40 hours a week. In particular, the wives of sports coaches across the country who eat, live, and breathe their husband's sport and raise their children.
Directed by Jonathan Moore (and edited by his wife Karen, an associate director of "Last Call With Carson Daly"), Coaches' Wives takes a look into the lives of these women whose struggles go unsung. Not that they are all miserable, put upon wives; all of them seem content and happy with their lives even if they had some trepidation at first. This documentary tells the story of several of these women: from wives of high school football coaches all the way to the wife of Phil Jackson, coach of the L.A. Lakers. Moore's film is fascinating and insightful, a rare look into a different side of professional and amateur athletics.
We chatted with him this week and learned just how personal the film was for him.
Source Weekly: So, do you consider yourself a documentarian or are you into all the different levels of filmmaking?
Jonathan Moore: I do both scripted and documentary films, so I don't consider myself exclusively a documentarian, though docs seem to be what I'm doing more of these days. I'm attracted to documentaries because it's a unique form of storytelling.
SW: Do you find that it is a harder medium than narrative filmmaking?
JM: Many people say that it's much more difficult than scripted/narrative filmmaking because you don't have nearly as much control over what you are doing. That's true, but I find that I love the uncertainty and the raw unfolding of the story of a real person or persons. There's really nothing like it. I know it sounds like some kind of artsy cliché, but I really do love people and I'm intensely curious about people, what makes them tick, what their lives are like. I haven't always been aware of this, but once I moved to LA, started film school all those years ago—I realized that I fit into the mold of a documentary filmmaker. Fundamentally, I just love good stories and telling good stories. I harbor no delusions of my own talent. Many of my own students are immensely more talented than I. But I do truly love what I do, and hopefully that comes through.
SW: This seemed like a very personal story for you to tell.
JM: Very much so. I don't know that I had a lot of strong feelings about my mother and her life as a coach's wife. In retrospect, I now see that she shielded me from a lot of what it was like. When I started thinking about this project, it originally was going to be something about being the son or daughter of a coach—which I am. In fact, my father was my high school basketball coach. But as I started really thinking about it and talking to others about that subject, I began to see where the mother and coach's wife would often come up in the conversation.
SW: And thus Coaches' Wives was born?
JM: I began to think about my own mother and a lot of things that I hadn't really thought about before began to take shape in my mind based on what others had said about their own experiences with their mom or wife or whoever their coach's wife was. It wasn't long until I realized that THAT was my story. Finally, I talked to my mom a couple of times and she related to me the struggles, frustrations and sacrifices that she experienced back then—and I was surprised—and a little disappointed in myself, even, that I hadn't caught on to some of that when I was younger. So, for me, there was no real difficulty in talking about the experiences with her or the other ladies. Personally, I was just so fascinated by it all that I enjoyed hearing about it. For a couple of the women that we interviewed, they found it to be almost cathartic—and cried off-camera after we were done talking to them. I am just blessed to have been able to talk to them, to hear truth coming from them and to know that we were telling their story.
7 pm, Saturday, Jan. 9.
Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St.