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'The Iron Claw' Review: One of the Most Emotional Movies of 2023'

Courtesy of A24

2023 might be over, but it doesn’t mean movies that came out in 2023 are done playing in theaters. One of the best movies currently playing is The Iron Claw. The Iron Claw is a biographical sports film written and directed by Sean Durkin and stars Zac Efron, Lily James, Holt McCallany, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, and Maura Tierney. The film shows the life of Kevin Von Erich, the greatness of his wrestling family, and the tragedies that also fell on his family. Going into this movie, I didn’t know much about the Von Erich family. I know some things about wrestling but not as much as some of my friends do. The Iron Claw is one of the most emotional movies I have seen in a while.

Zac Efron delivers the best performance in his career as Kevin Von Erich, the second oldest son of Fritz Von Erich but the oldest living brother throughout the movie. Zac Efron put a lot into the role, not just with his performance but getting into shape for the role. Kevin is the main character, and the film shows what he and his brothers went through for a decade that begins in the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Kevin cares about his brothers and sometimes finds himself at odds with his dad on how his dad treats them.

Lily James plays Kevin’s wife Pam and is the rock and anchor for Kevin. She helps him realize what is truly important. Jeremy Allen White portrays Kerry Von Erich, Kevin’s younger brother who becomes a world champion, but also deals with a lot of things afterward, including the aftermath of an accident. Holt McCallany plays Fritz Von Erich, Kevin's father who was once a wrestler who never got to win the world championship despite how great he was. He pushes his sons to be great wrestlers. The film does well in showing how Fritz cares for his sons at times but is also very tough on them and even toxic towards them. For example, Frtiz ranks his sons based on who he likes the best and then tells them rankings can change, thinking it will motivate them. It can be considered a depiction of toxic parenting, even when the parent’s kids are adults. James, McCallany and the rest of the cast do well in their roles.

The movie does well in portraying how well these brothers do and what happens to each brother. The main character is Kevin Von Erich, but each brother still has their own storyline that gets enough time in the movie. The one thing incorrect about this is in real life, there was another brother, but the filmmakers omitted him from the movie because they felt the movie couldn’t handle another tragedy.

The movie has great training montages to prepare for the upcoming wrestling matches, which are also portrayed well. The movie has terrific camera work in specific scenes. For example, when Kerry Von Erich is riding his motorcycle, it’s positioned where the audience is seeing what he sees before something happens. The movie has so many sad moments due to the many tragedies in this family and builds up those moments well to brace the audience for what’s to come.

Overall, The Iron Claw is one of the best movies of 2023 and will provide many moments that will make you smile and many moments that will make you feel emotional. Zac Efron gives the best performance of his career. The rest of the cast does well. The camera work in certain scenes is well done. The movie does omit one of the brothers from the movie and isn’t a hundred percent accurate, but still tells a tragic story about family and how a family can fall. My final grade for The Iron Claw is an A. If you’re a wrestling fan, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, I still recommend it. What did you think about The Iron Claw? Let us know in the comments below.

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