“No Ordinary Campaign”

“No Ordinary Campaign” is a by-the-book documentary that tackles a timely subject with compassion and grace. Director Christopher Burke tells the story of former White House lawyer Brian Wallach who, at the age of 37, was diagnosed with terminal ALS. The film follows Wallach and his wife Sandra Abrevaya on their legislative (and personal) journey to fight government red tape and get potentially lifesaving drugs into the hands of other patients.

Sandra and Brian’s story is touching, especially as they make it clear how quickly a person’s life can change when they’ve been given 6 months to live. Burke captures the reality of living with ALS (a disease that is always fatal), and it’s shocking to see the rapid progression of the disease on film. Weaving together clips of Brian’s activism and work with personal stories from other faces of those with ALS, the documentary is successful in making viewers personally invested in everyone’s narrative and the important mission they all share.

Wallach started his ALS campaign to lead the fight as a patient advocate to encourage the FDA to approve an experimental drug treatment program. It’s maddening to hear patients all agree that they would gladly and enthusiastically accept the risk of taking an unproven drug, yet a system that favors governmental red tape is depriving them of the choice. Many say they feel ignored by the FDA, an agency that is stopping them from having a chance to survive. Footage of Wallach’s impassioned testimony before a Congressional committee is nothing short of inspirational.

Burke’s filmmaking style is pedestrian and dry, and his documentary has little creativity in terms of visuals or storytelling. It’s straightforward, which should in no way be taken as a point of disrespect to the subjects. This is an excellent focused topic that’s presented in an educational, informative manner.

“No Ordinary Campaign” is a very personal story about a man who is trying to change a broken system with the hope that it will help make a difference in the lives of thousands. It’s also a reminder that even the smallest steps can go a long way in changing our country’s future for the better.

By: Louisa Moore


  1. We saw three films this week: Mafia Mamma, Creed III and No Ordinary Campaign. The best is No Ordinary Campaign. It is uplifting but beware it will also make you angry and have you crying. Brian and Sandra are two amazing individuals who have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. If only everyone had their drive and good nature, the world would be a much better place. Please support ALS research this summer by attending Lou Gehrig Day coming to a Major League ballpark near you. We are looking forward to Brian and Sandra appearing in many sequels to this amazing film.

    Liked by 1 person

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