Director: David O. Russell
Running time: 116 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 2nd February 2011
Watched on DVD Sunday 2nd October 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Since several friends of mine have recommended this movie, and since one of them even leant me the DVD, I thought I’d better give it a look. Well, it makes a nice change to say they were correct on this occasion, it’s a tremendous film! I really enjoyed it and have no problem in recommending it (yes, I liked it that much I’ll recommend it in the first paragraph). I’ll tell you why after this brief summary.
Micky Ward is a boxer, not a very successful one when we meet him, but a boxer nonetheless. His half-brother, Dicky Eklund, on the other hand, once had a fight for the world title against Sugar Ray Leonard. As we begin, Dicky is supposed to be training Micky, but he’s late… he’s always late. A film crew are making a documentary about Dicky, a documentary about the effects of crack addiction. Yes, Dicky has a habit and yet none of his family is prepared to do anything about it. His mother, Alice, who runs the family with an iron fist, refuses to recognise it, as does her husband, George Ward and his many sisters (too many to mention). Micky meets a girl, Charlene Fleming and they start to see each other, she is strong-willed, just like his mother, and you can see conflict coming. When Dicky gets locked up Charlene persuades Micky to go with a different manager and trainer. It pays off and Micky gets on the road to success… but how will his family react? I’ll leave it there because I don’t want the Spoiler Police breaking my fingers.
The plot of this film is a great family drama, and what makes it better is that it’s based on a true story. The critics were all over Christian Bale’s performance and he did indeed walk away with the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund. Also worthy of note was Melissa Leo who also won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her take on the domineering mother, Alice Ward. Personally, I was surprised that Mark Wahlberg didn’t even get a nomination for his role of Micky Ward and I have to also give a mention to Amy Adams as Charlene Fleming, who I thought was also great.
I find that sometimes films based on true stories tend to over-dramatise events and in doing so lose the essence of the story. I don’t think that is true in this case, they are very much ‘larger than life’ characters and that’s just how they are portrayed. I did find it ironic though that ‘Irish’ Micky Ward had to fight an Irishman for one of his big fights. I noticed the filmmakers made him a not very nice Irishman though. But enough of that, I found the film very uplifting and quite inspiring. As I said at the beginning, I have no problem in recommending this one… If you haven’t seen it, please do, it’s well worth the time.
My Score: 9.2/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 77,231 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91/100 (based on 225 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Mickey Ward: Alice, this is Charlene.
Charlene Fleming: Hi.
Alice Ward: I've heard a lot about you.
Charlene Fleming: Really? I've heard a lot about you too.
Alice Ward: What's that supposed to mean?
Charlene Fleming: Same thing you meant.
Mickey Ward: I'm the one who's fighting. Not you, not you, and not you.
Dicky Eklund: Are you like me? Was just good enough to fight Sugar Ray? Never had to win, did I? You gotta do more in there. You gotta win a title. For you, for me, for Lowell. This is your time, all right? You take it. I had my time and I blew it. You don't have to. All right? You fuckin' get out there, and use all the shit that you've been through, all the shit we've gone through over the fuckin' years, and you put it in that ring right now. This is yours. This is fuckin' yours.
Official Site: http://www.thefightermovie.com/