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Reviews Counted: 16

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Average Rating: 4.9/5

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Movie Info

HOOP DREAMS goes to the mat in this intimate, coming-of-age documentary about four members of a high-school wrestling team at Huntsville's J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama's list of failing schools. Coached by teacher Chris Scribner, teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan each face challenges far beyond a shot at the State Championship: splintered family lives, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their success on the mat and lock any doors that could otherwise open. Tough-love coach Scribner isn't off the hook, either; he must come to terms with his own past conflicts while unwittingly wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege in the South. Director Suzannah Herbert and Co-Director Lauren Belfer captured over 650 hours of footage during the course of the team's final season to create this closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America today.


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Critic Reviews for Wrestle

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

One reason "Wrestle" is so effective is that director Herbert and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot.

Feb 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Profiling four members of an underdog high-school wrestling team in Huntsville, Alabama, "Wrestle" constructs an empathetic portrait of a mat that's anything but level.

Feb 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Though hardly the first movie of its kind, it feels more vital than many of its fellow descendants of Hoop Dreams, and reminds us there are more than a couple of sports offering pathways to a college degree.

Feb 18, 2019 | Full Review…

This engrossing snapshot has a good shot at exposure beyond the festival circuit, with public television being a logical destination.

Apr 10, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A thoroughly engrossing tale of one young coach's attempt to grow boys into men via the discipline of competition grappling, and a blistering depiction of failing public high schools in America.

Mar 11, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Will these young men conquer in life as they sometimes do on the mat? We're not entirely sure, but we grow to like these kids and wish them well. That's a reflection of the involvement created by a good documentary.

Mar 7, 2019 | Full Review…

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