Professional wrestling’s most iconic figure is further immortalized when “Andre The Giant,” premieres on HBO on Tuesday.
Chronicling the life of Andre Rene Roussimoff aka the ‘8th Wonder of the World’s’ from his birth through his passing in 1993, the documentary tells the story of a once normal-sized man from France whose eventual extraordinary girth led him into a world of entertainment that not only celebrated him but at times made him feel like the loneliest man in the world. A man that wanted desperately to not only be liked but to fit in.
“We wanted to demythologize this guy and paint him as a human being rather than a fictional character,” said Jason Hehir director of the documentary.
Giving the film a more personal approach, filmmakers chose to examine the drive and the desire of a man that simply wanted to make a living instead of running down a simple chronology of Roussimoff of his life’s ups and downs. A man who suffered from alcoholism as his popularity grew, as told through interviews with Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, and Vince McMahon and in the end suffered immense pain before dying in France all alone in France shortly after the death of his father.
While informative, the film leaves you wanting more storytelling specific to Andre’s life outside the ring. With large portions of the film dedicated to Hulk Hogan, and Hollywood co-stars Billy Crystal and others, missing is more insight into Roussimoff’s normal life. Andre’s daughter Robin make’s a brief appearance but little is spent on examining her relationship with her famous father.
Overall the storytelling is heartwarming co-mingled with moments of sadness from those close to him in wrestling who wish they’d had more time with the big man before his passing as a result of congestive heart failure.
BSO Grade: B