Girl Wrestler is a poignant, informative documentary outlining many of the hurdles that girls face while participating in high school (or in this case middle school) wrestling. The movie follows a year in the life of 13-year-old Tara Neal, as she struggles with cutting weight, competing against boys, the opposition of certain wrestlers and coaches and living up to her parents’ expectations. When she gets together with a handful of other girl wrestlers at a tournament, the movie is particularly moving as the girls share their experience on and off the wrestling mat. The documentary, which aired on PBS, is an enlightening view into the experience of being viewed as an outsider in the physically demanding sport of amateur wrestling.
Message from the movie by Eric Linne about a teenage girl wrestler
“Tara’s story becomes a personal prism through which to view such broader cultural issues as the socially accepted views of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating disorders, teenage identity, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning and value of sports in American culture. Ultimately, GIRL WRESTLER reveals the many challenges and pressures faced by young girls today as they seek to carve out a place in a culture full of conflicting messages about what it means to be a girl.”