The Bodybuilder and I

Director Bryan Friedman
Genre Documentary
Runtime 90 minutes
Supplier January Films
Festivals/Awards Best Canadian Feature Documentary - Hot Docs Festival 2007
Release Date In theatres on November 2, 2007
DVD/Blu-ray available on May 11, 2010


Every June, 59-year-old Bill Friedman waxes his body, strips down the smallest bikini shorts imaginable, slathers himself with bronzing spray and then struts his way across a stage where he flexes his impressive muscles and gyrates before a crowd of hundreds. Bill is a competitive bodybuilder - a former world champ in the age 50-60 category. And now he's determined to win his title back.

Documentary director Bryan Friedman is 26. Bill - Bryan's dad - hasn't been around since Bryan was a baby. Over the last two decades, the two have spent virtually no time together. Bryan's feelings are complicated - but mostly negative, with a deep dose of embarrassment over Bill's muscle-bound body and single-minded bodybuilding obsession. Now, Bryan is chronicling his dad's attempt to make it back to the top. And somehow - between bench presses, tanning sessions, costume shopping and the occasional furtive cigarette - the two men are coming to know, and maybe even sort of understand, each other.

Told with humour and sensitivity, The Bodybuilder and I is a feature documentary about success, failure, shame and family. It is a journey into the strange subculture of geriatric bodybuilders and into the life of a man who is determined to regain his status as champion. And it is the journey of an estranged son trying to discover who his father really is - in hopes that he can learn to love and respect him for the first time.

Best Canadian Feature Documentary - Hot Docs Festival 2007

Official Film Site |Facebook Page


Press & Articles

“'The Bodybuilder and I' Review” - Georgia Straight

“'The Bodybuilder and I' Review” - Variety

“'Bodybuilder' shows dumbbell dad ” - Sun Media

“Family flexing” - NOW Magazine

“Agit Pop” - Toronto LIfe

The Bodybuilder and I

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