Wikipedia page than in this review.
The Fighter follows a long Hollywood tradition of sports movies. It uses the classic underdog-comes- from-behind sports-movie paradigm by showing the rise, fall, and rise of boxer Micky Ward. But The Fighter hinges on much more than this simple trope. To call this a movie about boxing does not do it service, and to say it’s a movie about brothers and the ties of families takes away from the fact that it’s also a riveting boxing movie and a fiercely anti-drug movie.
Lowell, Massachusetts during the very hot summer of 2009, The Fighter showcases my current home city. This fact alone might lend to my subjective take on the movie. We didn’t see any of the location shooting like we did for Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying, but often I’d see the arrow signs along Thorndike Street directing the cast and crew to that day’s location. Having a major Hollywood movie shoot in your town is like having your best friends crowned King and Queen of the senior prom. Mark Wahlberg, who stars as Ward, fought for the film to be shot on location. This is not simply a movie shot in Lowell, but features a story about characters born and raised here that could not be shot anywhere else and purport to be authentic.
Dicky. Christian Bale, who has played Batman and an American Psycho, made me forget all his previous roles. In The Fighter he becomes Dicky Eklund, Mickey Ward’s half brother.
pride of Lowell.” But now Dicky’s a crack head, which makes him unreliable as a brother and trainer. But that doesn’t stop Micky from loving him, and believing in him.
High on Crack Street, Lost Lives in Lowell. When this fact comes to light over the course of the movie, it’s heartbreaking.
Melissa Leo), acts as Micky’s manager. Alice gets Micky in the ring again, but he ends up fighting a boxer who’s got twenty pounds on him and he suffers another painful loss.
Amy Adams plays Charlene as a tough, sexy, college-educated woman who feels she never lived up to her potential after dropping out of college. She helps Micky see that being managed by a mother who is blind to Dicky’s debilitating drug use and who books fights based solely on the money may not be the best choice for his career.
If all this sounds rote, it’s not. Director David O. Russell (Spanking the Monkey, Three Kings ) and executive producer Darren Aronofsky (who directed Black Swan and The Wrestler), and the many writers credited with the screenplay (including Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy) leaven what could have been an average or even at times depressing story with humor and a compassion for all the characters, including Alice, Micky and Dicky’s seven sisters, and Micky’s beleaguered, henpecked stepfather.
Lowell cop Mickey O’Keefe (who plays himself!), a mentor and longtime friend. Micky starts surrounding himself with people who know what’s best for his career. He starts getting better matches, and starts winning. Micky’s style is unique in that he will take punch after punch, round after round, until his opponent lets his guard down. Then he pummels with combination punches to the head, body, head, body until the opponent drops.
Micky Ward as played by Wahlberg is a passive guy. He’s nice to a fault, loves his mother and his stepfather, half brother, and his many sisters. Almost to a fault.
But toward the end, as he brings his newly clean brother into his corner that already contains Charlene and Mickey O’Keefe, it’s obvious Ward’s strength lies in his quiet persistence and ability to arbitrate the many facets of his personal and professional life to work together for his benefit. As any sports movie must, The Fighter builds to a final competition. In this case the bout between Ward and British fighter Shea Neary, with the winner taking home the WBU Light Welterweight Champion.
Theater location: Lowell Showcase, Thursday, December 23, 6:45 show. Price $10.50. Viewed with Liz. Snacks--Water.
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