Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes



IMDb Rating 8.2 10 289

Plot summary

August 31, 2022 at 02:32 PM


Luke Mellows

Top cast

Sam Mendes as Self
Shane Warne as Self
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
961.24 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 3 / 11
1.93 GB
English 5.1
25 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 5 / 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by david-meldrum 8 / 10

An Unusually Honest And Searching Sport Documentary

All elite-level sport is psychologically tough, but elite-level cricket is perhaps the toughest. Understandably arcane and obscure to many, to those who (like me) love the sport it is one that can force its participants to the very deepest places. A large part of that is down to how much of this team sport is played out in individual battles; and that individuals have a lot of time to themselves even in the midst of the game in which to reflect and either flourish or have their inner demons get the better of them.

Ben Stokes, the subject of this documentary, is one of those special players of any sport around whom magic and drama seem to happen. He had, for a long time, perhaps not appeared to be the most thoughtful of reflective of people. But as this documentary unflinchingly shows, a series of events on and off the field over the last few years have led to become a more contemplative and self-aware person - whilst not losing his professional flair. This documentary had been planned a long way in advance; they found themselves making it when he was at a psychologically low point, stricken by depression and panic attacks; the first time we see him sit down to be interviewed, this is an ashen-faced, drawn looking man who is far removed from his public, heroic alpha male persona. Flitting back and forth in time, we get his side of some very public and difficult issues for him; there are genuine insights into mental health and a series of rare pressures which he'd undergone. It's always good for this type of public man to be so open about his struggles and mental health, and he's to be deeply commended for going ahead with this project in this way. Sam Mendes makes a good interviewer, though I think the story the film begs some questions about (alpha/toxic) masculinity that aren't properly examined here and perhaps should be, especially given the era we're now in.

Or perhaps that's for other people, at other times. What's undoubtedly true is that in the genre of sporting superstar hagiography, this is rare and important in terms of where it goes to and what it finds the courage to talk about.

Reviewed by southdavid 8 / 10

First Class

This documentary, a recent arrival of Amazon Prime in the UK, is a timely example of the stresses that success can lead to. Even if you have no interest in Cricket at all, Stokes' life story is quite extraordinary and his honestly about the mental health issues that befell him is something that still isn't talked about honestly enough by the majority of men.

Born in New Zealand, Ben Stokes, the son of rugby league player Gerard Stokes, moves to England when he's 12. He joins Cockermouth cricket club and begins a career that would make him a household name as he plays for England and is a key member of the side that won the 2019 World Cup. But an incident on a night out in Bristol, as well as a revelation about his family history would have him on the front page of the newspapers, as well as the back. The strain that sporting pressure and public scrutiny would put on him, has him at breaking point, forcing him to take time away from the sport he loves.

What's really interesting about this is that it revolves around an interview that Stokes does with this film's producer and big cricket fan, Sam Mendes. That interview takes place not long after he's decided to take what would end up being a temporary departure from the game and whilst I should have been the catharsis, barring some moments of anger, mentally it's like Stokes isn't there. It's a fact that they revisit later in the film, with a catch-up interview. The films directors, Chris Grubb and Luke Mellows are given lots of access to Stokes, who is open about how he's felt at various times and we see some private moments with his family, particularly his parents at a difficult time in their lives.

I do think that you can get a lot of out this, even if you have no interest in cricket. That Stokes does that at an elite level is all you need to really understand, you could substitute any other endeavour and still get the themes of the film across. The honesty on display, as well as the ability of the filmmakers to tell the story well, makes this an enjoyable, if occasionally tough, experience.

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Datura profile
Datura September 03, 2022 at 03:08 pm

I don't likeHummus...

ShaghaiDoc profile
ShaghaiDoc September 03, 2022 at 07:35 am

Just another Faux STOP (Slave Trading Opium Pusher)

BrideOfCheekyBugger profile
BrideOfCheekyBugger August 31, 2022 at 10:40 pm

Oh it's about cricket! No wonder I fell asleep watching it! :)

ian52 profile
ian52 August 31, 2022 at 07:27 pm

England going down 2-1 next week. PROTEA FIRE

filmcritic101 profile
filmcritic101 August 31, 2022 at 05:05 pm

The legendary cricketer Ben Stokes. Thanks!