Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Fighter

Last night Kelly and I watched one of the best film's from last year. This David O. Russell directed drama about the life of Lowell Mass Welterweight Boxer Micky Ward, his family, and especially his older brother, himself a former boxer, is as moving as it is exciting.

It technically a boxing movie, and there is enough ring action to satisfy enthusiasts, but that's not really what this movie is about.

Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, comes from a salt of the earth, working class family in  New England. I've been to Lowell, on the New Hampshire border,  and it is certainly an industrial town.

The film tells the story of Micky's return to boxing after a severe dip in the success of his career. His brother, Dicky Eklund, played by Christian Bale, was a famous boxer himself, once going 10 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. He is Micky's trainer, but he's also a crack addict, a criminal, and a pretty poor excuse for a brother.

The boys' mother, Alice, played by Melissa Leo, is Micky's manager, but throughout the beginning of the film it's clear that his family is holding back his career. The external plot is about his return to boxing, and how he eventually becomes the world welterweight champion.

But it's the internal plot that really makes this movie. At it's heart it's a love story about two brothers, and what addiction can do to relationships between family members. It's just as devastatingly sad as it is inspiring. Christian Bale gives the performance of his career, for which he won an Oscar, and proves that he is much more versatile than only being able to play whispering super heroes.

Melissa Leo also won an Oscar for her role as Alice, and her performance might be a little outshined by Bale's, but it's really no less impressive. Amy Adams plays Ward's girlfriend and wife, and she is cast completely against type as a tough New England bartender. This is not your friendly neighborhood Disney Amy Adams. Mark Wahlberg is Mark Wahlberg, and while he may be more famous nowadays for his executive production acumen, his status as a Boston native and his commitment to the art of boxing make his performance more than adequate.

I can recommend this as a must-see film. It's perfect for couples because the boxing is fun and exciting for men, but this movie is really full of heart, telling a much deeper tale beneath the surface.

35 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh, and thanks so much for everyone's help yesterday. I think it was one of the most successful query critique posts I've ever done!

Simon C. Larter said...

Dudes punching each other in the face, and Amy Adams cussing. That' FTW, right there.

Nicely reviewed, bro.

Shain Brown said...

Yesterday was a great post and I enjoyed reading all the comments. I look forward to hearing how or if that query changes.

Getting to see Mark take a few in the face...I'm there.

lbdiamond said...

I didn't catch this one in the theater, though I wish I had...

Bish Denham said...

Yep, this is already on my list of must sees.

L.G.Smith said...

Yeah, I wanna see this one. I'm really bad about getting to theaters anymore. I stay in my lair and wait for the Netflix envelope to arrive. I'm usually about six to nine months behind the rest of the world when it comes to seeing movies.

LTM said...

nice--must check this one out. sounds like it might *hit* close to home for me...

a'hem. OK. :D <3

great work yesterday! uh-gain.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i have not seen this yet, but i want to. Especially since i LOVE Christian Bale

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

i like marky-mark

Jess said...

I'm so glad you liked this--it's the next on my list of must-see movies!

Steve said...

Didn't work for me. Seemed like there was too much acting going on. But if you liked it check out "Fat City" (the novel and film).

Tabitha said...

We just got this, but haven't sat down to watch it yet. I'm looking forward to it, though. Great actors and great conflict! Thanks for such a thorough breakdown of the film!

Paul Joseph said...

Great review, sir. I have not yet seen it, but I'm planning to add it to my weekend agenda, along with a few others I missed the boat on. I'm looking forward to this one, especially since Melissa Leo gave such a classy acceptance speech at the Academy Awards! Haha, I kind of think she rocks.

Janet Johnson said...

Is this terrible . . . I didn't even know what movies were up for Best Picture or any of that Oscar stuff.

But you make a great argument for seeing it. I'll have to look into it.

Brent Wescott said...

I never could get in to boxing movies. Million Dollar Baby bored me, but maybe that was Hillary Swank's fault. I do like Bale and Marky Mark, though. Should I try The Fighter even if I don't want to watch the boxing?

Matthew MacNish said...

I would say yes Brent, the movie wasn't really about the boxing.

Jared Larson said...

Fantastic film! I was in awe the whole time by Christian Bale. Thanks for the awesome review, Matt.

Michael Offutt said...

Mark Wahlberg had a really candid interview with NPR regarding this movie. He said that he trained for five years in order to be able to do this role. That is amazing in my opinion.

Marsha Sigman said...

OMG, my husband and I saw this over the weekend. Totally loved it. We have been really disappointed with movies lately but not this one.

Amy Adams on the front porch beating sh** out of the sisters was maybe my favorite part.lol

Every single actor in this movie was incredible, the story was inspiring, and Mark Wahlberg had his shirt off most of the time. I'm not sure you could ask for more.

Suzie F. said...

Thanks for the review. I didn't realize that the boxer was from Lowell. I spent a lot of time there when I was younger.

Even though I usually shy away from boxing movies, I'll have to check it out since it has a local connection.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's a true story, Suzie. Irish Micky Ward really is from there, still live there too.

Carrie said...

I haven't seen this one yet but I'm excited to see it. It will be fun to see Amy Adams in a less Disney type role.

Rachel Searles said...

I don't usually go for sports movies, but I loved this one because it was really more a family drama than a boxing story. Christian Bale is amazing.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Yeah, my wife and I just watched this last week, and it was excellent. Lots of great acting, with Mark Wahlberg playing the straight man in a family of crazies.

Old Kitty said...

This film came and went here too!! But if I see it around as a dvd, I'll definitely watch it!!! Thanks for the review and info - it'll be great to see Amy Adams play against Disney type!! Take care
x

A.M. Swan said...

1) Christian Bale has played much more than whipsering superheroes many times before this film and yes he was excellent in this film.

2) As someone who has spent time in Lowell, this movie was also excellent is capturing the...colorful...people one might find there. Very realistic.

3) I liked it too

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I've been wanting to see this. Love Mark Wahlberg! Thanks for the recommendation, Matt!

Paul C said...

Thank you for this thorough and perceptive review. It's now on my list.

Lisa Gail Green said...

It's not a movie I would normally pick out, but the way you've described it here makes me want to go rent it! I do like most of those actors. So even if there are no vampires or aliens, I might give it a go. ;)

Wanton Redhead Writing said...

Thanks for the thumbs up, I'm always looking for movies that I can actually drag my hubby to. It's a bonus when he stays awake!

mshatch said...

I was on the fence about this movie since I'm not much of a boxing fan (altho I did love million dollar baby - but that's Clint Eastwood...)but your review convinced me. It's going on my netflix list. Great review.

Donna Hole said...

Cinderella Man, with Russell Crowe, was like that for me. Which means I'll probably enjoy this movie.

Thanks for the tiip

......dhole

Ishta Mercurio said...

Excellent review! I'll definitely get this for myself and the hubster to watch. Thanks!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Nice review but I'm not really into nose-crushing films...

Kelly Dexter said...

I adore this movie. It was one of my favorite films of last year. Bale's performance is transcendent.