There is something uncomfortably riveting about French/Canadian filmmaker Denis Côté documentary that really brings out the voyeur in you. In this almost silent look at half a dozen bodybuilders he invites us to observe their complete obsession with their bodies which dominates their lives complete.
Each gram of food is weighed meticulously, every daily supplement is carefully counted out, and every single moment of when they are awake (and probably when they are asleep and dreaming) is spent practicing their bodybuilding poses.
With the lack of narration and interviews Côté tells us very little about the men inside these hulking bodies, but we can pick up from the few bits of conversation that the men have with their significant others, that their choices are non negotiable despite all of the consequences.
One of the men who is also a wrestler, makes his wife train at the gym, and even his 6 year old daughter too, but then when things get tough he clams up completely and will not speak with anyone in the family for days.
Another also acts at a trainer to his reluctant girlfriend and when he pushes her way too hard, she begins to question their whole relationship.
Côté is discreet about his own feelings to the lives these man have chosen, and leaves us wondering if all this obsession with the shape of one’s body, that is normally considered a feminine trait, achieves anything other than pampering to these men’s egos.
The one constant in this whole film is the sheer lack of joy without even a hint of happiness. No more telling then at the end of the film when the men, who probably know of each other only on professional basis ior be reputation, go on a weekend retreat together. The silence is palpable, and even though they all have so much in common, they are so socially awkward that you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
The old adage used to be money can’t buy you happiness, and we should add neither can having a bodybuilders body
The movie is available to view on most major streaming platforms inc. Amazon