Jessica Hynes makes her directorial debut with a powerful drama that packs a punch. Having co-created one of the greatest comedies of all time with Spaced, Hynes’ has forged a formidable career as a performer, writer, and now a confidently handled debut as a director.
For a film called The Fight, there isn’t a huge amount of boxing as the fight is more of a metaphorical one that everybody in life faces. While you might be expecting a plucky comedy in the style of Cuban Fury with an unlikely underdog going all the way to win a championship, Hynes surprises audiences with a sensitively handled story. However, there is a sports training montage which as we all know is a contractual obligation of any film involving sports.
Hynes deals with the subject matter that other films only scratch the surface, examining the ripple effect of bullying. Tina’s (Hynes) daughter is subject to the wrath of a school bully. However, the girl intimidating her daughter is the offspring of a girl that Tina once bullied at school. This revelation unearths Tina’s own troubled childhood and shakes her already strained relationship with her parents. In need of a vent for her mounting frustrations, Tina signs up for boxing lessons, but her hardest battle won’t be fought in the ring.
Unlike many dramas of a similar nature, Hynes wisely sidesteps cliches. Tina is a woman who is struggling to hang on, crushed by life; her daily fight is heartbreakingly conveyed in a scene where she breaks down asking her husband for help. Honesty and reliability are Hynes’ greatest asset here; it’s a scene that many will identify with and is a stark reminder of Hynes’ powers as a dramatic performer.
An impressive debut with solid performances from the supporting cast that includes Sally Philips, Russell Brand, Anita Dobson, Rhona Mitra, Christopher Fairbank, Sennia Nanua, and Alice Lowe. The Fight is out now on DVD and is well worth checking out.