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The Fencer's inspirational coming-of-age arc is given added heft through sensitive direction, affecting performances, and a moving, fact-based story.
All Critics (52)
| Top Critics (14)
| Fresh (44)
| Rotten (8)
It's surprising how polite and restrained everything is. However, that doesn't mean you won't be wiping your eyes as the credits start to roll.
Basically a "Hoosiers" remake ... but that's OK. It's a winner here, too.
An effective mix of underdog sports drama and political thriller, inspired by the true-life story of celebrated fencing champ Endel Nelis.
Not awful, just uninspired.
Though the camera follows Endel closely, we never really get inside his head - or explore the fear, regret and uncertainty that must plague him.
The sincerity with which the clichés get served up, and so on, make a relatively smooth viewing experience. But they also render what would have been an at times harrowing real-life story into something safe and bland.
[Klaus] Härö's effort is very low-key, matching its quiet, contemplative atmosphere to desaturated, cold-toned visuals.
It's the kids, as charming and scrappy a bunch as you'd find anywhere, who give The Fencer its winning edge.
The true story of an Estonian sports hero offers a lovely twist on a familiar tale. A cinematic triumph from a nation that's been missing from the global film stage.
Unfortunately, being a sincere, heartfelt true story isn't enough to recommend this film. One can only hope that someone more skilled will someday tell this story in a more compelling fashion.
Adeptly directed by Finnish filmmaker Klaus Haro, who emphasizes the hope and pride his protagonist inspires in his young students, this is a smooth sail of a movie too enjoyable to be doomed by its formulaic presentation of deserving material.
Although somewhat boxed in by its own physical beauty, The Fencer is so uniformly well-crafted, it should be shown in film schools as a model of technical artists operating at the highest level.
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