Film Review: Lucha – A Wrestling Tale

"LUCHA: A Wrestling Tale" (courtesy)

Lucha: A Wrestling Tale
Directed by Marco Ricci
96 min – United States

A heartwarming documentary by Marco Ricci follows the girls wrestling team of Taft High School in New York’s Bronx.

This film follows four girls during two wrestling seasons who are working to bring back the wrestling championship trophy to Taft High School.

Shirley, who is mostly homeless, hopes wrestling will be her avenue into college. Nyasia struggles to get in shape and keep her grades up so she can stay on the team with her ultimate goal of competing in the Olympics. Mariam is Muslim with a conservative father that doesn’t understand her love for the sport. Then there is Alba a girl from the Dominican Republic who balances her time between wrestling practice, learning English, caring for her little brother, and running the staircases of her apartment building to stay in shape.

Their coaches, Josh and Robert, build a strong wrestling team from these girls instilling an unwavering spirit and love for this sport.

This documentary delivered the thrill of the victories and the heartbreak of defeat that had me cheering at one point and wiping tears at another. This is an inspiring and uplifting story about struggles and perseverance to achieve a goal.

This story is hard to watch without being deeply moved by the plight of these wrestlers and the coaches dedication to mentor these girls on and off the mat. Their reward is in the trophy case at Taft high school and the positive effect on numerous female wrestlers. This is a story that needed to be told and needs to be watched.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Learn more at


Written by Cherish

Cherish Clinton is a film enthusiast and contributing writer to

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