Bodybuilding Reviews / Videos
Beyond the Pain: The Vicki Nixon Story
Reviews by Gerry Triano and Mike Emery
the Pain: The Vicki Nixon Story
just viewed this DVD and my first reaction is WOW.
Mike Pulcinellas film profile of IFBB pro Vicki Nixon is an inspiring look at the career of a high achiever in bodybuilding and life. Vicki has been competing since 1985; in a bonus clip on the DVD, we see her demonstrating poses for a 1992 ESPN TV broadcast with Carla Dunlap (my favorite female bodybuilder of all time). Vicki went pro at the 2004 Team Universe, and competed several times in IFBB shows until she retired from competition this year due to health constraints. All this is the tip of the iceberg, though. This film delves below the surface in order to show what brought Vicki to this point in life.
The film is a dual profile, for Vickis husband Brian is as much a part of it as she is. They are a lucky couple a compatible, mutually supportive pair who met in the gym and never left it. Brian is a rarity among male bodybuilders a modest, soft-spoken man and his excellence as an NPC competitor helps give the film its upbeat ending. I hope hell continue at the national level in masters competition; he would do well.
While the film deals with the pressures and pleasures of a bodybuilding career, the title gives away its true theme: getting where you want to be despite the curves life throws you. Lifes limits take several forms for Vicki. Her health problems (some of them unrelated to training) take a toll on her and Brian. The most vivid scenes in the film occur in hospitals: you see an operation in progress at one point. Another limit is Vickis past, including an early marriage that ended in divorce. The IFBBs and NPCs annual rule changes for female competitors offer another challenge (well captured in the films Downsize Me sequence). Fortunately Vickis parents have been supportive, and she has been luckier in her relationships since the 80s. The limits she faces now are external; the inner ones are taken care of.
It has been said the unexamined life is not worth living. Vicki has worked long and hard to examine hers, finding ways forward regardless of setbacks. As for determination, Vicki has more than most people can imagine. Striking the right balance, finding what you do well, surrounding yourself with the right people Vicki has done these things. This film, beautifully made by Mike Pulcinella, shows life not as a competition, but as a journey towards the things that matter most. Its a stunning piece of work.