Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsSXSW 2019: Mack Wrestles Review

Keith NoakesMarch 29, 2019

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Synopsis: The sport is brutal enough. There are the demands for strength and speed and stamina, the hours bathed in sweat, the knowledge that your opponent wants to wipe the mat with you. Those were the very reasons, though, that Mack Beggs loved wrestling—it gave him a sense of purpose and a sense of self. (ESPN)

Starring: Mack Beggs

Directors: Erin Sanger and Taylor Hess

Rating: n/a

Running Time: 25mins

Trailer: n/a

Being a short film, Mack Wrestles already has its own set of limitations. It arguably cuts short what would be a compelling story about a Texan transgender wrestler named Mack Beggs. Born as a girl, she felt trapped in her own body and desperately searched for purpose and his own identity. He would face some dark times while feeling alone before he would eventually find his calling in amateur wrestling. The film would gloss over the early part of his life as the rest of his family would come to accept Mack and focus on Mack and his blossoming wrestling career.

Being transgender would present its own set of challenges for Mack as the court of public opinion and the wrestling institutions within Texas had not caught up to current times. He would have to face opposition from both as neither truly understood him as his presence would be a disruption to the status quo. The film would cover some of the controversy that his presence created but Mack would not let any of it get to him. All he wanted to do is wrestle and he could tune all that out whenever he would get on the mat.

Mack’s journey was an inspiration for other transgender teens and the film ended on a hopeful note. Other than the obvious, your enjoyment of the film will depend on the relatability of Mack’s experience. Transgender or not, the theme of pursuing one’s dream should be enough for most to get around. The film itself utilized the usual documentary style, featuring interviews with Mack and the other figures in his life. Though the film was fun to watch, it will leave some wanting more which isn’t necessarily the worst thing.

Overall, Mack Wrestles is a compelling short film that is limited by its own format. It tells an engaging story that some may not relate to about institutional discrimination and finding your true self.

Score: 7.5/10

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