Bodybuilder and I

The Bodybuilder and I

  • Canada
  • 90
  • STC

A few years ago, 59-year-old Bill Friedman was a pudgy workaholic lawyer, a lousy husband and a negligent father with a mansion in a Toronto suburb. After his second divorce, he suffered a major depression, sold the house, left the law firm and started working out. A lot. Bill became a competitive bodybuilder. For director Bryan Friedman, this is a fascinating subject for a documentary, but also a little embarrassing. The bulging, bronzed and glistening senior citizen squeezed into a thong just happens to be his estranged father. Making this film is Bryan’s way of coming to terms with the man who walked out when he was a baby and was largely absent as he grew up. Following his dad’s obsession brings up painful unresolved issues for Bryan, but it still seems easier than talking to his dad through a wall that is 26 years thick. Through the quest for sculpted perfection, the choreographed routines and the tanning sessions emerges a funny and poignant musing on coping with failure, dealing with family and reluctant forgiveness. Gisèle Gordon.

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