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First Match

USA, English, 102 mins

  • Director: Olivia Newman
  • Writer: Olivia Newman
  • Producer: Chanelle Elaine; Veronica Nickel; Bryan Unkeless

CGiii Comment

Oooh the little treasures you can find when trawling through Netflix!

Eight years on from her short film, Olivia Newman presents her debut feature...an obvious labour of love...and one that pays off!

Thanks to a break-out/stand-out performance by Elvire Emanuelle...rarely off-screen, she carries the entire film from start to finish, traversing every emotion as she goes. When she smiles, the screen lights up...when it all comes tumbling dow, you are there by her side! When she hits out, you can feel her pain.

This is an intimate film of a young woman who has had her fair share of hard knocks...of a contact sport that is as rough as what life can throw at you. Take the count, get up and get on!

As a comment on parenting, the foster care system...it pulls no punches. Some do not deserve the right to parent, the foster system is flawed...life ain't perfect. But...if you can find it, there's always a way out! Olivia Newman is adept at keeping you guessing!

There is an artfulness in this truly rewarding film...this is what happens when director and cinematographer work in accord.

An obvious labour of love and a wee gem of a film.


The(ir) Blurb...

Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood decides that wrestling boys is the only way back to her estranged father.

Cast & Characters

Elvire Emanuelle as Monique;
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Darrel;
Colman Domingo as Coach Castile;
Jharrel Jerome as Omari;
Kim Ramirez as Lucila;
Jared Kemp as Malik;
Eisa Davis as Bianca;
Allen Maldonado as Juan;
Travis Raeburn as Jamal;
Antonio Ortiz as Jorge;
Jimmy Gary Jr. as Hasaan

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