Review by Andrew Wertz
Before watching the new documentary “CT Fletcher,” I had never heard of the bodybuilder and YouTube star. Going into the film, I expected a sports film like Pumping Iron. The Fletcher documentary, actually, puts very little focus on Fletcher’s career, but instead focuses on the man’s personal philosophy and life. The documentary is a moving and intimate portrait of the man that can be fully enjoyed without knowing anything about weightlifting or CT Fletcher.
CT Fletcher carries the film on his own, as he has a wonderful camera presence throughout the entire documentary. It doesn’t matter if he’s addressing the camera directly in close up, with wild eyes as he motivates the audience, or hanging out with his family: CT is entirely likable, and speaks to the camera with total openness and honesty.
The documentary action takes place in the present day, as Fletcher tries to open his gym despite pushback from city council. Through interviews with CT and his family, we learn about his life and the obstacles the he has faced. Fletcher grew up in Compton in the 1960s with an abusive father. Fletcher vividly recounts his experiences, and is an excellent storyteller. Director Vlad Yudin lets Fletcher’s words speak for themselves, with great success.
The film also explores Fletcher’s heart problems, and shows them as a sort of motivation for the athlete and businessman. Even after open heart surgery, Fletcher refused to be held back, and soon returned to his addiction: weightlifting. The heart issues motivate Fletcher to open his gym and use his image as a brand to extend his legacy. Fletcher’s honesty and openness about his heart problems and limited time on earth is moving and motivational.
“CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession” is an excellent character study documentary. Even if the viewer is not interested in weightlifting in the slightest, and has no idea who CT Fletcher is, the documentary has a lot to offer. Fletcher is a magnetic presence when he is screaming motivation at the camera, playing with his grandchildren, or speaking about his troubled past. With an incredibly interesting, likable, and inspirational subject in CT Fletcher, the documentary portrait is well worth the watch.