Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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The Iron Claw: Family, Wrestling and Death

Larissa Lopez
The Iron Claw is a movie that covers the tragic story of the Von Erichs, one of the most important families surrounding the sport of wrestling.

The Von Erichs are one of the most important families surrounding the sport of wrestling—with three of the children being able to excel at this sport, holding multiple global awards between them as well as the father being a pioneer of wrestling in Texas. On top of all of this, they also hold one of the most devastating stories in any sport as well as an important note of the importance of mental health in athletics.

The story of the Von Erichs is shown in the 2023 sports drama film “The Iron Claw,” directed by Sean Durkin. As someone not familiar with any of the history in wrestling and not aware of this family before watching the film, it is truly incredible how it is able to tell such a powerful story and keep you engaged throughout the two hour and twelve minutes runtime. Everyone in the cast delivers amazing performances, both in the preparation for the physical look of wrestlers as well as emotionally, but specially Zac Efron, who after not seeing him in any big roles for a long time, does an incredible comeback and delivers one of the most emotive performances of last year.

The movie shows you each of our main characters: Kevin, Kerry, Mike and David, enjoying time as a family and how much they relied on one another, focusing on their bonds and the importance of sibling relationships. This brotherhood seems even more important when compared to their relationship with their father, Fritz Von Erich, a complete narcissist who brought each one of them into the sports of wrestling to become a world champion, not caring for their well-being or decisions and ending up in what is known as the “Curse of the Von Erichs,” with each one of the brothers deciding to end their own lives except for Kevin.

Seeing these tall, powerful and what at times seem unbeatable men, be fragile and have emotions is something not seen very commonly in media, especially in the way “The Iron Claw” does. We see how each one of the brothers seems to be a child when talking with their dad or with others, and that their emotions and feelings are something they do not know how to show with their parents shutting them off in multiple times throughout the movie.

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Toxic masculinity is a topic that the movie tackles very well, as we can see the effects it has on each one of our protagonists, with long-lasting effects of trauma or even worse, suicide. The father always mentions the importance of being the best, the strongest and the most successful, and puts his kids to such a high standard as well as continuously comparing all of them to each other, creating multiple discussions and fights in the family.

The ending of the movie, as simple as it is, does an amazing work at showing this rupture of toxic masculinity, with a simple dialogue but powerful dialogue between Kevin and his children, with such a simple act as accepting yourself to cry and not letting himself keep his emotions closed for any longer. It’s a soul crushing scene and what makes everything more depressing is the fact that it’s a completely true story, making this movie one of the most devastating movies of last year.

“The Iron Claw” is available for purchase in multiple streaming services, such as Amazon Prime, as well as still being shown in a select number of theaters.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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