Weightlifter

A short film about a professional Ukrainian weightlifter preparing for a major championship. The film contrasts his increasing physical mastery as he loses his grip on his inner turmoil and up-ends his life.

At the beginning of the film, he shares a flat with his happy, beautiful girlfriend, who is devoted to their fluffy, pregnant cat. Now, like I said in my review of The Dinner, whenever you see a beloved pet in one of these things, ding ding ding! The clock is ticking on it.

Then he gets a phone call from his mother informing him that his father has died. Despite her tears, he refuses to come home for the funeral. He tells her he has to train for the championship, but it’s obvious there’s a history of trauma there. He doesn’t even tell anyone about this, including his girlfriend. Instead he just becomes more intense in his training, more erratic in his behaviour, and eventually lashes out violently against his partner and their pet.

The final shot is of him practising his lift in the mirror, the flat dark and empty, him alone with this dream of strength. Well acted and well made, it is a grim story about toxic masculinity and how damaging it is for all involved.

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