i want to say “the protagonist of movie X goes through so much, i love movies where the protagonist is......”

there’s a phrase that i had forgotten that was on the top of my tongue, no it’s not “pushed to the limit”, it’s another phrase with a similar meanining....meanining the protagonist goes through hell, is beaten down to his knees, etc

i know i’m not being helpful with my examples lol but i can’t explain it another way, but it’s a popular phrase that i had forgotten that means....”going through s**t” lol

  • 2
    It's on the tip of your tongue, not top. But there are many ways of expressing what you're trying to say, so I think this question is essentially just a matter of different people's opinions. It's not really relevant that you have one particular expression in mind, that someone might get lucky and guess correctly. Sep 20, 2018 at 13:00
  • just hit me with expressions and phrases then lol
    – One
    Sep 20, 2018 at 13:21
  • 1
    Well, you've already given several alternatives yourself - is pushed to the limits, goes through great adversity, goes through hell / shit,... It's not like there's some obvious reason why none of those are "the right answer", nor is there any reason to suppose there's one single expression that everyone here could agree was unambiguously "the best choice". So sorry - it's an "unanswerable" POB question. Sep 20, 2018 at 14:22
  • Subject to trials and tribulations? Oct 22, 2018 at 5:37
  • hmmmm find da word or phrase?
    – lbf
    Feb 14, 2019 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


An appropriate phrase in this situation would be "to hell and back"

As defined by Merriam Webster

through a very difficult or unpleasant situation that often lasts for a long time

The phrase being most often used to describe situations where a person has experienced great adversity and pulled through.


"... I love movies where the protagonist is put to the test


put (someone or something) to the test
To test or evaluate the limits of what someone or something is capable of doing or achieving.

I've had a pretty good tournament so far, but my next opponent should put me to the test.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


Regardless of what the poster was trying to recall, the short and snappy way to express the idea is:

I love movies where the protagonist is put through it.

A variant on this is:

put through the wringer

Of course you can be academic and say

subject to Herculean tasks

Or, as the example is cinema:

given the Hitchcock treatment

(Cary Grant in North by Northwest, James Stewart in The Man who knew too much and Rear Window, Robert Donat in The 39 Steps etc. etc.)

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