LOVESTRUCK: WRESTLING'S No. 1 FAN: DVD
Sue Chuter grew up in Melbourne and developed an interest in professional wrestling in her late teens - the 60s and 70s. Her passion grew and she went to New York in 1992 to attend a massive fan convention and on to Memphis to meet her special hero, wrestler and commentator Jerry 'The King' Lawler. His No. 1 fan, she again met Lawler at Wrestlemania in California in 1996 and when he visited Melbourne in 2001. Chuter has collected thousands of wrestling photos and videos during a life troubled by a broken marriage and estrangement from her daughter Rhonda. She reunites with Rhonda and meets her grandson, but the relationship is destined to break again. Chuter's everlasting love, however, remains wrestling.
Review by Louise Keller:
A no-frills look at a self described eccentric obsessed with wrestling, Lovestruck is a documentary that is as rough and ready as its subject matter. Ten years in the making, film critic & filmmaker Megan Spencer puts the magnifying glass on Sue Chuter, a squat, middle aged woman with oversize glasses, a tattoo or two and a lisp, who likes 'blood and guts' and 'solidly built men'. It is clearly a project fuelled by passion, and while we may not understand the appeal of the sport, it is easy to be swept away by Sue's enthusiasm, as we see first hand what it is like to be a wrestling groupie - or 'Ring Rat'. But it is the juxtaposition of Sue's personal life with her passion that brings the most surprises.
It was at the World Wrestling Championship in Melbourne in 1969 that Sue's obsession - or dedication - began as a teenager, when she began focusing on the sport and the high profile stars whose photos cover the walls of her Melbourne home. She knows them all - from videotapes, wrestling networks and her trips to US for fan conventions and promotions. There is the rough video diary footage she has taken, as she collects photos for her brag book, and the airport meeting with her all-time idol, Memphis wrestler and commentator Jerry Lawler, who she calls 'king, god, heaven, earth and the universe.'
Although most forthcoming when talking about wrestling, there is another subject close to Sue's heart. It is her daughter Rhonda, with whom she has a reunion after an estrangement of 10 years. Some of the details are sketchy - Sue's brief failed marriage and the exact circumstances of the estrangement. Her recent long-distance second marriage to a wrestling fan is a curiosity which leaves us wanting to know more. But Sue's underlying devotion to Rhonda and her new baby son - despite their rocky relationship - is as genuine as the knocks and shocks in the wrestling ring. Stylistically, Lovestruck could be called rather rocky too, as it incorporates different quality video footage. Most appealingly, it has a raw and compelling energy that peeks into the life of a woman who has found happiness through her obsession and credits wrestling for changing her life's outlook.
Published October 10, 2007
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LOVESTRUCK: WRESTLING'S No. 1 FAN: DVD (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Sue Chuter
PRODUCER: Rosemary Blight, Megan Spencer
DIRECTOR: Megan Spencer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Megan Spencer (Vern Sundfors archival footage)
EDITOR: Julie-Anne De Ruvo
MUSIC: Philip Brophy
RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Level Four Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: April 5; Melbourne: April 19, 2007
PRESENTATION: Widescreen (16:9)
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Accent
DVD RELEASE: October 10, 2007