Most of us look at life through the same windows where we only relate to what we know. That usually leads to having a conversation where you see something you don’t normally see and utter those famous words “ I just don’t understand.” I am guilty of that as I am sure most people are, but at the same time I think that I understand more than the window I have looked out of most of my life. The reason I feel that way is because of the stories I read and important movies I watch that give me a understanding of life through other people’s eyes.
All of what I just said is a long way of saying movies like “First Match” open my eyes to a whole new world. In it Monique (Elvire Emanuelle) is a girl who always seems to be at odds with life. She has hope knowing that her father Darrel (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) will be getting out of jail soon which can help stabilize her home life. After being kicked out by her mother she moves in with a foster mother who she also doesn’t always get along with. It is when she runs into her father and she tells him that she has joined the school wrestling team in order to try and lure him back into her life. Once on the team she becomes a rising star as she uses what she learned from her father as a kid to help take her school’s wrestling team to heights they have never reached. While life should be good Monique’s loyalty to her father takes her to places she shouldn’t be, places that could fracture her life more if she doesn’t make the right choice about who wants what’s best for her.
Telling a story like “First Match” which is written and directed by Olivia Newman and based off her short of the same name is needed. It is because these are stories that while so familiar to some can be a complete mystery to others. Most people know of that need to impress someone you love , someone who you hold in the highest regard and who you only want their approval. For a lot of people this story will hit, as Monique’s need to impress her father will feel familiar. “First Match’s” story begins and ends with Monique and Emanuelle is extraordinary as you root for her to make the right decisions even as she goes down the wrong path. This is another example of Netflix putting out stories that should be heard and this one of a father and daughter ‘s relationship is a good one and will open your eyes and heart to the power of love.