Spandex Sapiens

Spandex Sapiens ★★★

This almost-documentary follows the exploits of a man who straddles multiple worlds. Michael Majalahti grew up in Canada but lives in Finland, the homeland of his preacher father. He’s got the kind of career kids sometimes imagine for themselves: a rock singer by day and pro wrestler by night (or is that the other way round?). He’s a nifty comic artist in the Jerry Lawler school, too. Oh, and he’s also a sexist jerk with really narrow-minded if not toxic ideas about masculinity. So there’s a lot going on here, but the film-makers don’t really know what to do with it. The narrative meanders from day to day, mostly charting Michael’s relationship issues and wrestling gigs (including a trip to Japan for Yoshihiro Tajiri’s SMASH promotion) and occasionally stopping to set up some kind of antagonistic, ideological conflict between him and Jessica Love, a trans woman who works for the same wrestling company. That’s where the line really blurs between fact and fiction, where it’s hard to take Michael’s transphobic insults at face value as it’s clear he’s working with Jessica, not shooting on her. One wonders if the makers were as in on the act as they thought they were.

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