Jessica Hynes directorial debut is a character-driven drama. Despite some small qualms, The Fight works for the most part.
Life is tough for Tina. She and her husband are struggling to juggle their full-time jobs whilst looking after their children. Tina’s mother is threatening to leave her father, and her daughter is being bullied at school…
Written, directed by and starring Jessica Hynes, The Fight is a small-scale story which concentrates on character development. Hynes has created authentic characters, particularly with her protagonist. The narrative focuses on Tina’s journey, as she navigates the various aspects of her life.
The beauty of Hynes’ film is that every narrative development feels absolutely plausible. The filmmaker keeps certain facts back, giving the protagonist more depth as these facets are revealed.
Hynes has created a protagonist that seems ordinary; she is overworked, stressed out but trying to hold everything together. The Fight benefits from its adherence to realism. Tina’s journey is not an extreme one, nor does Hynes rely on a very neat conclusion. Instead, the protagonist is presented as flawed, multi-layered, and very believable.
With this devotion to realistic drama, there are two music-set sequences which are most jarring. The use of a training montage is too much of a cliché, and feels disjointed compared to the tone of the rest of the film. This is also felt with Tina listening to her music towards the end of the picture.
Performances in The Fight are good throughout. Hynes is completely believable as Tina. She receives decent support from Shaun Parkes and Christopher Fairbank. Anita Dobson is fantastic. She really stands out in a small but powerful role. Viewers may be surprised by the size of the roles of some of the top billed cast.
The Fight is a promising debut. Hynes shows her flair for character development, and for telling everyday stories.
The Fight is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.