Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows

There are a lot of movies about wrestling out there, but there’s nothing like Wrestling With Shadows. It’s the best wrestling doc I’ve ever seen, as well as one of the best documentaries, period- quite simply because it tells such a beautiful, tragic story about a legitimate, real-life hero and his legitimate real-life villain.

The hero is Brett Hart- a rare person in the Entertainment World who truly believes in right and wrong, truly loves his fans, and truly loves his family. The villain, Vince McMahon, needs no introduction- owner of the WWF, he has only sunk lower in lower since this film was made, the poster boy for Trump-era capitalism, exploiting everyone around him for his own dumb greed. Director Paul Jay captures the story perfectly, giving you a ringside seat into a great wrestling tale that serves as an allegory for much that is wrong (and right) in America today.

You also get a wonderful history lesson through Hart’s father, Stu- a wrestling legend who ran his own Stampede Wrestling league in Canada until McMahon bought him out in the mid-80’s. As Regan’s America started the era of corporate consolidation in every industry from Agriculture to Rock n Roll, so went Wrestling. Hart began working for McMahon’s mega empire, slowly rising up the ranks until he became a Superstar. And then…

…oh, but no spoilers here- you’ve got to watch the movie to find out. Wrestling fans already know the story, but for the rest of us, it’s truly Shakespearian in scope. What pushes the film beyond being just a good story are the real-life human characters, especially Hart and his family- his kids, his wife, his dad, and the tight unit and love they clearly share while navigating this shark-filled ocean. Even more impressive is Hart’s own value system, constantly clashing with the schmaltzy, money-driven world McMahon’s WWF has become. Check out his amazing speech given on live TV during a match:

For me, Canada is a country where we still take care of the sick and the old. We’ve got health care, we still have gun control- we don’t shoot each other on every street corner. Canada isn’t riddled with racial prejudice and hatred- across Canada, we all care for each other…

Is this Bernie Sanders or Sports Entertainment? To watch Hart espouse such political rhetoric in the middle of a coliseum full of screaming fans is fascinating, and a reminder that as fake as wrestling may seem, the lives that surround it are quite real. Wrestling With Shadows is full of heartfelt fan testimonies speaking to how their personal lives have improved because of Brett Hart… a testament to the man’s absolute love for his audience (and their absolute love back.) May we all be so lucky.

4 thoughts on “Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows

  1. Hi, the Mr Soul doc on hbomax isnt the Donny one. The one Im looking to see is Its called Mister Soul: A Story About Donny Hathaway. I dont think its on hbo or anyother vod/streaming service to my knowledge. Thank you

    also with the Bret Hart doc above, there was one about his brother Owen too on an deluxe version of Wrestlig with Shadows DVD I also recommend Beyond the Mat which is a eye opening look at the behind the scenes of the wrestling industry.


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