Zero to Hero is a biopic that tells the story of So Wa-Wai, and how with tremendous help from his mother became a gold-medal-winner Paralympian. The movie can easily be divided into halves that contribute to the outcome. And this is how we shall go about it.
Firstly, just after it seems that Mrs. So is about to kill her son, Wa-wai, because he can’t walk and herself too, little Wa-wai stands up on his feet. Sometimes, success comes late but it comes all the same. All we need is a little support and trust. What makes this scene very special is the words of the anger of the mother which are counteracted by the smile that Wa-wai returns to her. Mrs. So wants little Wa-wai to stand up and walk. No matter how much she loved her son, his disability would take its toll on her. And it seems that this is something that we see her cope up with, after Wa-wai’s success, via the only means she has i.e. money.
Secondly, where it hurts Wa-wai as well as us, the viewers, the most is when even her mother tells him to stutter in front of the camera to “showcase” his disability for an advertisement. During multiple instances, his mom tries hard to pursue him to do more advertisements. At one point we may begin to think whether she is overlooking his son’s talent for the money he can earn. And as a matter of fact, this does get established when Wa-wai tells her all that we, as the audience, wanted to tell her. “…you only had [my brother] because I was handicapped. You had me run because I was handicapped.” But then her reply is all it takes for us to go into self-doubt. She tells him, “…you have never been blamed for the way you are…I shouldered all that blame.” If it had been someone else, we would have told ourselves that she was playing victim.
But it was her mom and we know that she is right. She had to bear the cross of all the blame because she was the only one who believed in Wa-wai. And in that particular situation, she may sound money-minded. After all, she was worried about who would take care of her son in her absence. However, we tend to tell ourselves that after all she had been through bringing him up, she was right. Nobody wants their loved ones to be left alone, helpless. Mrs. So was doing all that she did because she didn’t want his son to be tagged as “handicapped.”
Thirdly, multiple facets of Wa-wai’s relationships have been explored in the movie in succinct ways. Be it his relationship with his mother, his coach, or his friends. As it is with coaches, giving up is never an option. Wa-wai’s coach never gives up on him till the very end. He makes him train harder even if it calls for telling Wa-wai’s flaws on his face. His friends, especially Tung, whom Wa-wai replaced as the anchor leg, encourage him to try harder and go “faster.”
Zero to Hero does not trace the success of So Wa-wai. It traces his relationship with his mother and then with those he connected with. And how, it was faith that ultimately led him to run that crucial track of life.
“No one will ever treat you like an ordinary person. So just be extraordinary.” These words encircle So Wa-wai’s journey of becoming a gold-medal Paralympian.
Zero to Hero is a 2021 Sports Biography film directed Chi-Man Wan. It is streaming on Netflix.