The Fencer (Miekkailija)
The Fencer (Miekkailija) (2017)

A young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in the early 1950s. Having left Leningrad to escape the secret police, he finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: July 21, 2017
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Critic Score: 84% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: The Fencer's inspirational coming-of-age arc is given added heft through sensitive direction, affecting performances, and a moving, fact-based story.

Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times

An effective mix of underdog sports drama and political thriller, inspired by the true-life story of celebrated fencing champ Endel Nelis.

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Glenn Kenny

The sincerity with which the clichés get served up, and so on, make a relatively smooth viewing experience. But they also render what would have been an at times harrowing real-life story into something safe and bland.

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Brian Orndorf

Built to be an audience-pleaser, and it's successful in that respect, delivering a level of benevolence that's immensely appealing.

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Scott Marks
San Diego Reader

Not awful, just uninspired.

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Ben Kenigsberg
New York Times

Almost relentlessly predictable and formulaic - a story of one man's refusal to conform that dutifully hits all its marks.

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Todd Jorgenson

... an awkward mix of sports underdog saga and political thriller, yet even when its edges are soft instead of sharp, the crowd-pleasing result provides depth and historical insight.

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Maia Silber
Washington Post

Though the camera follows Endel closely, we never really get inside his head - or explore the fear, regret and uncertainty that must plague him.

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Abbey Bender
Village Voice

The palette is muted, like a faded photograph, and tense scenes are underplayed.

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Shane Slater

The Fencer is respectable, well-acted and ultimately heartwarming, but it's also forgettable.

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