Millions of people are affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year, and the effects can range from temporary loss of consciousness to death. Page Jones came about as close to the latter as you can, and Godspeed is the inspiring story of his decades-long battle to return to some semblance of normal life.
Page’s father, Parnelli, was a racecar driver of unusual skill, winning both the Indianapolis 500 and a stock-car championship at a young age. It wasn’t surprising when sons P.J. and Page decided to follow in his tire tracks, and both were quite capably doing so when Page was critically injured on an Ohio racetrack in 1994. His injuries essentially flipped the reset switch on his brain, starting him on an arduous journey that continues to this day.
Director Luann Barry chronicles Page’s ordeal with home video shot during those early days. It’s difficult to watch, but highlights the rare combination of strong family, financial resources, and extensive support structure Page enjoyed, all of which have been crucial to his recovery.
And no doubt about it, it’s a remarkable one. Initially unable to walk, speak, or perform basic functions, Page is now walking, married (with children), and working at his father’s shop. But while his story is moving, Godspeed would perhaps have been more powerful if Barry spent more time balancing Jones’s relative good fortune with the monumental hurdles faced by the less fortunate with similar injuries, instead of touching upon the issue in the film’s final minutes.
Godspeed: The Story of Page Jones
Directed by Luann Barry
Opens October 9, AMC Loews Village 7
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 6, 2015