Mark Cavendish: Never Enough (2023) Review – Revealing, intimate and emotionally-charged

Revealing, intimate and emotionally-charged

They say pressure builds diamonds but what happens when you create a diamond and then continue to pile ungodly amounts of pressure on it? The answer is Mark Cavendish. Netflix’s latest cycling documentary, Never Enough, is a revealing, intimate and emotionally charged film that sheds light on Mark Cavendish’s incredible career. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, this man has been through hell and back.

The film jumps back and forth between years but largely sticks with a pivotal time in Cavendish’s life, coming around 2017 to 2021. Here, the famous cyclist struggles with not performing at his best, ultimately suffering from crippling mental health issues, partly caused by mounting media expectations, the pressure of carrying an entire team on his shoulders, all whilst fighting off the Epstein-Barr virus.

There’s only so much pressure one person can handle and the cracks began to form, rippling out in destructive and chaotic ways.¬†What’s particularly eye-opening here though, is Mark Cavendish own account of his mental battles during this time. His wife Peta explains at one point that Mark always scoffed at the idea of depression – until it actually affected him. This is all too true and even now, there’s still a big stigma around mental health.

If you tell your boss you can’t come to work because you’ve broken your back, you’ll get a very different reaction to telling them you’re clinically depressed. Films like Never Enough do go some way to show how bad these health concerns can be, but right now at least, our culture has a long way to go before accepting this.

The title of Never Enough is a clever double entendre too and a very fitting title for this film. On the one hand, Never Enough refers to Cavendish’s drive for success and his insatiable appetite to continue at the top of the cycling podium as the best racer in the world. On the other hand, it references the media’s reaction to Cavendish, that no matter what he does it’ll never be enough for them. That’s particularly revealing, given the snippets of interviews with Lance Armstrong here, who doubts Cavendish’s ability to get back in the saddle again.

The editing is pretty good across the board and the revealing talking head interviews are excellent. There’s a range of different people that lend their view on Mark Cavendish, even outside his immediate family. They’re all pretty open and truthful about Mark’s prickly demeanour and attitude, while at the same time commendable on his awesome cycling talent. And his obsession with winning races.

Whether you’re a fan of cycling or not, Never Enough is an excellent documentary. It’s an eye-opening account of what damage mental health can do to someone, and the ultimate redemption story of clawing your way back from the darkest depths to reach for that light at the end of the tunnel.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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