THE FIGHTER--Directed by David O. Russell/ Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo—1 hr 54 min/ R/ screenplay written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson from a story by Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington
(B) This film is about a struggle between two brothers whose personal dreams are challenged by family conflict. One brother has lost his dream (partly due to drugs) but the other brother still has hope. The only thing possibly standing in the hopeful brother’s way is the hopeless brother’s choices. The stage is set for a drama that tugs at your heart. All performances are notable, however, for me Christian Bale’s had the edge, mainly because of the role he was given. Another performance that got my attention was that of Melissa Leo who plays the mother of these brothers. I don’t recall seeing her in other films, but a supporting role nomination would not surprise me. I recommend this film, especially because it was based on a true story and if you are not a fan of boxing, you probably are a fan of family. I give this film three and a half-binoculars.
(G) I was not in the mood for another boxing movie, and luckily I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film transcended my expectations and assuaged my fears. In simple language, this is really NOT a boxing movie at all, though a true knowledge of boxing and of the hardships of training in a brutal sport come shining through, behind a uniquely told, age-old story. This is really (as Barbara pointed out earlier) a movie about choices and about something we don’t have a choice in…our families. There is even a very subtle Anti-Drug message, concealed behind the struggle of the Christian Bale character to hold onto his brief moment of celebrity at the risk of destroying his younger brother’s chance (Mark Wahlberg) of true success. I thought that everything worked well and the casting was superb, especially if you knew the true story that is behind the one portrayed on the screen. However (and this is an important point) knowing that Mickey Ward was an actual champion boxer, and his brother stood toe-to-toe with Sugar Ray Leonard is really unimportant. The Fighter can be enjoyed by both men and women, as a film about two brothers (one with a hot girlfriend played by Amy Adams). If I had not just seen The King’s Speech, this likely would have been my favorite movie of 2010. I agree with Barbara (again) the film starts out a little slowly and, though builds to a rousing conclusion, earns a near-perfect three and a half binoculars.