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Reversal (2001)

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Leo Leone has been wrestling since he was seven years old. As the only son of wrestling coach (and ex-state champion) Edward Leone, Leo's dedication to the sport was tied up in his love for... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Mousetis ...
Leo Leone
Derrick Nelson ...
Young Leo
Coach Leone
Dawn Lafferty ...
Kelly Vint ...
John Lloyd Sr. ...
Jeff Breese ...
Justin Spates ...
Thurman Ellis Jr.
Thurman Ellis Sr. (as Guido Föhrweißer)
Paul E. Reihner II ...
Referee (Trinity)
Heather Connor ...
Ben Policz ...
Young Roger
Rich Burgdolt ...
Referee (Washington)
Tim Mousetis ...
Jack Spates
Claire Throckmorton ...


Leo Leone has been wrestling since he was seven years old. As the only son of wrestling coach (and ex-state champion) Edward Leone, Leo's dedication to the sport was tied up in his love for his father. Now Leo is seventeen. His life has been an endless cycle of training, sacrifice, and starving to make weight -- a process that is becoming ever more difficult during adolescence. He's tired of denying himself everything, and is feeling the lure of a world beyond the mat. Living paycheck to paycheck, working a dead-end job in the mines while coaching for no money, Leo's father Ed sees a wrestling scholarship as his son's only chance to escape the treadmill of life in a small Pennsylvania town. But though his motives are good, Ed is pushing his son too hard. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, some teen substance abuse and thematic elements | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fighting Chance  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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User Reviews

Wrestling With Issues
9 August 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

The word "reversal" is a scoring term in competitive wrestling. It is also the title of an Alan Vint directed film about a high school wrestler named Leo who questions his own motivations for wrestling, and confronts his well-meaning but pushy father who also happens to be the wrestling team coach. The father sees a wrestling scholarship as a way for his son to escape a dreary future working in the Pennsylvania coal fields that surround the town where the story takes place. The kid appreciates his father's love, but grows tired of the endless training and self-discipline. A big issue in the story is the unhealthful practice of weight loss that was, at one time, part of the real-life training regimen among American high school wrestlers.

Based on the real life of wrestler and screenwriter Jimi Petulla, "Reversal" is a simple, straightforward story packaged in a film devoid of stylistic flourishes. What you see is what you get. As such, the film comes across as an after school special, aimed mostly at young wrestlers and other athletes. On the other hand, non-athletes may find value in the film as a realistic portrayal of the relationship between father and son, in contemporary America.

The film's strength is also its weakness. Real-life wrestlers play key roles. Hence, the wrestling matches are quite authentic. But wrestlers do not necessarily make good actors. And in this film, their performances, for the most part, are wooden and stilted. Indeed, the real-life wrestler who portrays Leo mumbles his lines, rendering dialogue that is almost inaudible at times. I was impressed, however, with the performance of Kelly Vint, as Leo's romantic interest.

For a low-budget film, "Reversal" is well made. The cinematography looks professional and the soundtrack sounds professional. Given the film's runtime and the simple plot, the pace could have been improved with some editing out of unnecessary scenes.

"Reversal" reminds me of the film "Prefontaine" (1997), which has a similar theme, though different sport. The plots of both films convey a sense of the constant and agonizing struggles required of young athletes, as they train to win. Ultimately, as "Reversal" shows, it's up to each young athlete, not the parents, to say whether "being a winner" is worth all that pain and sacrifice.

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