Beyond the Mat
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In a rare foray into documentary filmmaking, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment produced this behind-the-scenes look at professional wrestling, shot on digital video by director (Barry W. Blaustein), screenwriter of several hit Eddie Murphy comedies. An unabashed wrestling fan since childhood, Blaustein nevertheless takes an unflinching look at the dark underbelly of the "sport," as he shadows a trio of wrestlers representing three very different aspects of the profession. Mick Foley is a superstar shown to be the complete opposite of "Mankind," his… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Documentaries are almost always more interesting if the filmmakers fess up about their relationship to the subject, as unabashed pro-wrestling fan Barry Blaustein does in this naively made, compelling homage to the sport."
‑ Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader
"Entertaining and twisted."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"WWF documentary is OK for older teens."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"A very good film that both wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans will enjoy."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Surprisingly riveting."
‑ Merle Bertrand, Film Threat
"A gently and genuinely observed film whose subject is a garish, artificial display of mayhem."
‑ Robert Koehler, Variety
"It has a hypnotic quality."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Am engrossing watch, but it's far from the most fascinating and incisive look at its subject."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Barry Blaustein takes a long, hard look at pro wrestling and, while not making me a newborn fan of the sport, he taught me the intensity and sacrifice of those who enter the ring."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Unfortunately Blaustein isn't an experienced enough film-maker to make much of such material."
‑ Fiona Morrow, Sight and Sound
"We tour the All-Pro Wrestling School in California and Philadelphia's fearsome Extreme Championships, but it's the studies Blaustein makes of several wrestlers that root the film."
‑ , Time Out
"The wrestlers are cannier than Blaustein probably gives them credit for; they seem to be offering up their backstage lives to him in ways that mimic the soppiest of melodramas, and he falls for it."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
"Blaustein, Foley and Funk layeth the smack well and truly down."
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"A hilarious and heartbreaking documentary."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"...an easygoing, straightforward film without too many surprises"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
More reviews for Beyond the Mat on Rotten Tomatoes