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The 2018 documentary 'Katie' is now on Netflix and if you need any convincing, here's what critics thought

It’s well worth a watch.

THERE ARE A lot of talented Irish athletes out there across a variety of sports, who divide the public’s opinion whether it’s through their antics and personalities or through their conduct outside of sports. One athlete who has managed to avoid any of this controversy, while uniting the country in admiration and pride, is 32-year-old Katie Taylor.

Boxing - Principality Stadium Source: Nick Potts

Katie has managed to bring a rake of gold medals back to Ireland from European Championships, the Olympic Games and World Championships over the course of her career, while remaining a very positive role model for young people, and showing young women interested in boxing just how much is possible for them in the sport. Hailed as the best female boxer that ever lived both inside and outside of Ireland, from day one, Taylor has been blazing the trail for female boxers in Ireland. At the age of 15, she fought in Ireland’s first officially sanctioned female boxing match at the National Stadium against Belfast’s Alanna Audley. 

In the 2018 film, Katie, the documentary follows the champion boxer as she tries to rekindle her career after a year of setbacks and difficulties.

Is it worth a watch? Definitely, according to critics. Directed by Ross Whitaker, the award-winning film follows Katie from the Rio Olympics, a competition she entered with no coach or club after her relationship with her father began to deteriorate, and into her ‘second career of sorts‘ through boxing’s paid ranks. 

Dillian Whyte v Joseph Parker Weigh-In - Spitalfields Market Source: John Walton

 

 The film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where there’s no shortage of reviews from Irish journalists describing the documentary as “beautiful”, “a knockout”, “honest”, and “a polite argument for the greatness of a figure almost everyone already loves”. 

In October of last year, Chris Wasser wrote for the Irish Independent that it was “dutiful and insightful” and shied away from the headlines and scandals, paying closer attention to Katie’s story, from the days when she posed as a boy in her boxing club to get fights, to where Katie stands in her journey today. Donald Clarke wrote that “The storytelling around her is efficient, lucid and (ahem) punchy”, in his review for the Irish Times. Scannain concluded that Katie is “inspiring, not so much as a film, but as a tale of human strength and resilience”,  while The42.ie called the documentary a triumph for Ross Whitaker:

One of the integral scenes in Katie, should on the face of it, rank among its most inconsequential. Katie Taylor is out for a meal with her group of friends – maybe six or seven of them – and they’re doing what friends do: taking the piss out of each other. And the Katie Taylor who sits among them, laughing away to beat the band – largely at her own expense – is not that Katie Taylor that people have gotten to know having seen her scale scarcely believable heights for literally half her life in the boxing ring. She’s Katie Taylor, a 32-year-old woman from the Oldcourt estate in Bray, enjoying a bit of grub, sipping a drink and shooting the breeze as she tends to when she’s home. 

Indeed, it’s not often we get to see the ‘ordinary’ side of any athlete, never mind an individual who is as private and reluctant to engage with scandal as Katie Taylor. Katie Taylor told The42.ie that the reason the documentary came across as so ‘raw and honest’ was because “half the time”, she didn’t even realise Ross Whitaker was in the room.

Source: WildCard Distribution/YouTube

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Kelly Earley

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