REVIEWS and COVERAGE
Julie Wyman’s documentary — exuding cool with snazzy black-and-white shots and a catchy soundtrack — is hardly a mere sports film. Haworth, now 29, who’s also a talented artist with a dry sense of humor, has conflicted feelings about her sport, which requires her large size but also has a fixed expiration date.
“lets its story speak for itself [and] sticks with you… Ms. Haworth, a genial woman with a ready smile, talks forthrightly about the disconnect between the accolades she receives as an athlete and the messages American culture sends about large-bodied women. The film’s most compelling moments are not when she is competing, but when she is contemplating life after competition.”
“Strong!” has a universal appeal beyond the world of women’s weightlifting… Haworth proves herself to be not only a champion competitor but also a compelling documentary subject, comfortable in front of the camera and in her own skin. Both the filmmaker and the subject hope that “Strong!” can provide women with a new image of physical fitness, strength and beauty, and also with the confidence to challenge themselves.
To the Contrary, PBS, July 27, 2012 (SCROLL FORWARD to CHAPTER 3):
Size is part of the point of Strong!. Cheryl Haworth is enormous. A more significant part of the point of the film is her personality, which is also enormous. It’s also thoroughly engaging. Much of what Haworth has to say about being a weightlifter applies particularly to her extraordinary circumstances: she is celebrated as a champion at the same time that she is ridiculed as a freak.
Only a Game, NPR, Bill Littlefield “Cheryl Haworth is STRONG! in New Documentary,” July 21, 2012
CBS News, “STRONG! An Olympic Weightlifting story,”
July 24, 2012 (SCROLL FORWARD TO 1:35)
Charismatic and outgoing…, Haworth is funny, tough and forthright… Her story serves as an nice insight into the dilemmas faced by so many of the world-class athletes we’ll watch compete in [London 2012]. When this giant thing that shaped your identity and the way you lived your life inevitably comes to an end, it has to be both frightening and exhilarating to have to figure out what’s next.
IndieWire, Allison Willmore, “STRONG! Explores the Life (and Size)…” July 26, 2012
The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday, “Ten Movies Not to Miss at Silverdocs,” June 15, 2012
“I’ve seen it at least 4 or 5 times now (I’ve lost count) and it seriously gets better every time I watch it. The film is beautifully shot and reallyortrays Cheryl’s strength, sense of humor and well-grounded sense of self…. The openness of both Julie and Cheryl in allowing us to see the struggle for body acceptance is one of the most powerful things about the film. Self acceptance, especially when one does not meet certain societal standards for body size and shape is hard. The film shows us how hard it is without offering simplistic, preachy solutions. I found that deeply meaningful.”
Jeanette DePattie, Author of The Fat Chick Works Out: Fitness that’s Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Sizes, Ages, and Abilities, May 25, 2012
“…the way [Julie Wyman] conceptualized and handled this movie was so deft that I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to bring it to Austin… it is so important for fat people to have role models who look like us and Julie gives us that opportunity. Seeing Cheryl and knowing that a large woman is representing our country in the Olympics is such a huge motivation for me as an athlete and I wanted other people to have that experience.
Ragen Chastain, Author of Fat: the Owner’s Manual Three-Time National Dance Champion, and Blogger, May 19, 2012
Cheryl Haworth is a documentarian’s dream: a true character who appears to need no screenwriter’s embellishment. She comes across with warm humor and genuine determination. Her determination may not seem unusual for those who follow great athletes, but her humanity is something special. Her story is a home run, a slam dunk, a sure thing… But what really fascinated me about the movie was the creative documentary techniques Julie Wyman employed. Julie and her team really thought this film through and invested some powerful inspiration into its telling.
Greg I. Hamilton, Filmmaker and Blogger, May 14, 2012
Interview with Julie Wyman at Telegraph 21″A video magazine featuring the best documentary films and art videos from around the world.” May 2012
Radical Woman Q&A with Filmmaker Julie Wyman at Stephanie Vicente’s website “Radical Hateloss.com” April 25, 2012
“STRONG! Professor’s Documentary Featured Nationwide,” UC Davis College of Letters and Science, April 11, 2012