The Fencer (Miekkailija) (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fencer (Miekkailija) (2015)

The Fencer (Miekkailija) (2015)

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Movie Info

A young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in the early 1950s. Having left Leningrad to escape the secret police, he finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his students and starts teaching them his great passion - fencing, which causes a conflict with the school's principal. Envious, the principal starts investigating Endel's background... Endel learns to love the children and looks after them; most are orphans as a result of the Russian occupation. Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children and Endel becomes a role model. The children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, and Endel must make a choice: risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them.

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Critic Reviews for The Fencer (Miekkailija)

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

This well-acted, smoothly crafted drama tells a story of cross-generational bonding in the face of historical oppression, in touching if unsurprising fashion.

September 29, 2016 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The man and his motivations remain oddly elusive in this blankly heroic, clunkingly predictable portrait.

September 29, 2016 | Full Review…
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

'School of Rock' with swords.

September 26, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

An affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his life to uphold a bond of trust with his students. Though squarely in the tradition of Dead Poets Society and The Bad News Bears, the film offers higher stakes and, consequently, a bigger payoff.

March 3, 2016 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A competition in Leningrad is the climax of Finnish director Klaus Haro's handsomely shot drama, but what endures is the churning, ever present fear the decimated community lives with.

January 27, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
The Sunday Age

The historical context does add a unique texture to the familiar trajectory of Anna Heinamaa's sturdy screenplay, as does Tuomo Hutri's wintry photography.

December 27, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Irish Times

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