“Setbacks are your biggest teacher” is one of the most impactful lines uttered by the central character in Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes not just underlines the crux of the film but also the basis for what makes Ben Stokes the individual that he is. It captures both the English test captain’s triumphs on the field and his struggles away from it.
Directed by Chris Grubb and Luke Mellows, the documentary provides an idea into the cricketer’s mental make-up, his guiding principles and the factors that inform his game. The Amazon Prime Video release has insights from the late Shane Warne, Stokes’s teammates Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, his manager Neil Fairbrother and his family members.
Solely from a cricket lover’s point of view, the greatest bit remains the cinematic re-telling of Stokes’s redemption story – from the 2016 World T20 last-over loss against Carlos Brathwaite and West Indies to the 2019 World Cup hero and the remarkable run chase in Headingley. To hear about the unbeaten 135 from Stokes and for it to be dissected by Root in the backdrop of a fight to prevent the Ashes from being retained by a ruthless Australia, illustrated a test of character.
The film features stunning cinematography, and cinematic sequences with Stokes as the centre of it all, often juxtaposed with voiceovers from his team mates and late father Ged Stokes. The movie is now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video and you can watch it on the platform. In Stokes’s own words, he went through his career fearing failure and now, rather than fearing failure, he advises to embrace it, instead. If there is one thing to take away from Ben Stokes: Phoenix from The Ashes, that would be it.