THE FIGHT as a whole focuses on a small but undeniably significant slice of life.
Harassed mum Tina, the character that actor Jessica Hynes plays in her first film as director, is beset by almost too many family problems at once. Her talented daughter Emma (Sannia Nanua), one of her three children, is being bullied at school by classmate Jordan (Liv Hill). Tina’s needy mother (Anita Dobson) is leaving her father (Christopher Fairbank) and clings to her as a confidante. And Tina herself is an overworked care assistant for elderly people doing three jobs to keep the family finances afloat, together with her quietly supportive partner Mick (Shaun Parkes). They seem a typical just-about-managing family living in Hynes’ seaside hometown of Folkestone.
Then Jordan’s mother (Rhona Mitra) starts accusing and persecuting Tina too. Could it be because they too were at school together? Tina’s problems start to seem overwhelming.
Though Tina self-medicates by listening to self-help tapes (unctuously voiced by Russell Brand), she decides to get a grip by – discovering almost by accident – learning to box. Her trainer (Cathy Tyson) at the nearby gym motivates her with tough love and a few home truths. In a strong British cast, stalwarts Alice Lowe and Sally Phillips have cameo parts.
Tina trains hard in the ring and on the road. In time, the confidence she gains through boxing helps her face up to, and fight, the problems bubbling to the surface in her life.
THE FIGHT as a whole focuses on a small but undeniably significant slice of life. It’s admirable to see a film with a female viewpoint that tackles a woman’s fight for her self-empowerment in a non-standard way. It also looks at bullying, an issue high on the UK agenda. Performances are all good and Hynes certainly puts herself through the mill in her training, playing a character so unlike anything we’ve seen her as before. Expectations were high for Bafta-winning actress’s directorial debut: it’s professional and promises even more for the future.
THE FIGHT is in UK Cinemas from 15th March 2019.