Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Tough Out is available in the FLC Virtual Cinema beginning August 10. Get tickets here.
In 2015, the former captain of the Chinese national baseball team joined forces with members of the Chinese Baseball Association and others to launch a charity baseball school for underprivileged youngsters in a suburb of Beijing. Under the tutelage of Zhang Jinxin, an aging but legendary coach, the players gradually develop confidence in themselves and their futures. Veteran social-issues documentarian Xu Hui-jing brings a Hoop Dreams–level depth and an admirable lack of sentimentality to his film, which focuses on two troubled boys—Hu, who is of Hui Muslim ethnicity, and the abandoned-at-birth Xiaoshuang—as they struggle to work through their personal traumas and confront their middling athletic abilities. As the Pony League World Series approaches and the school’s training center faces sudden obstacles, the team must rally to overcome a new set of challenges. The coaches’ unwavering commitment to the children is a resounding humanist outcry that demands to be heard.