One banana, two eggs, and blend. The morning smoothie is ready to drink straight from the blender with one gulp, and then off we go to the gym.
Frank Meyer is a retired bodybuilder, whose days are filled with active training, even though posing on competition stages lies in the past. The documentary follows Meyer and his everyday life for over a ten-year span. In the beginning, Meyer’s excitement for the film is palpable, when he introduces his go-to gym and pet shop, which he has inherited from his father. As the film unravels and years pass, it becomes more clear that Frank Meyer is not a film about bodybuilding, but about masculinity, aging, and controlling one’s body.
With his bulky muscles, Meyer is the perfect manifestation of the traditional masculine body, but over the course of the film, he starts questioning his masculinity and the reasons that sparked his bodybuilding career. Having suffered from violence in his childhood, Meyer started to dream of being a superhero, and bodybuilding seemed to offer one way to realise this dream. But as muscles crew, so did the barrier between him and other people. To let someone hug him, let alone have an intimate relationship with him, feels impossible. Instead of human touch, Meyer leans on animals, especially his cat Arnie is spoiled with scratches and hugs.
The documentary is a harrowing depiction of the way Meyer, who is used to being in total control of his body, slowly loses this control. Despite the serious symptoms of tiredness his body is sending him, Meyer still dreams of making a comeback to the competition stages and stays positive about his rehabilitation.