Fighting Back from the Brink
Release Date: December 17, 2010
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale,
Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: David O. Russell
Executive Producer: Darren Aronofsky, Keith
Dorrington, Eric Johnson,
Tucker Tooley, Leslie
Producer: Dorothy Aufiero, David
Hoberman, Ryan Kavanaugh, Todd
Lieberman, Paul Tamasy, Mark
Writer: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy,
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
John Lesher, President
Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
The movie also follows Mickey’s relationship with a female bartender named Charlene played by Amy Adams. Charlene is one of the fortunate few in their tough South Boston neighborhood to have attended college, although she partied her way back out of school years ago without graduating. She and Mickey are both sensitive souls who feel trapped by the coarser people around them, and the screen couple are highly affecting as they learn to stand up for their inherent dignity and dreams and assert themselves in a positive manner to break the influence of their destructive surroundings.
Dicky had been a hot boxing prospect himself years before, but a fierce addiction to crack torpedoed his career. He lives his life irresponsibly chasing the next high and skipping all responsibilities to those around him. Then, an HBO documentary about him airs while he's in prison and forces him to see himself through more realistic eyes, including the eyes of outsiders. Dicky drops to his knees in humble desperation and vows to get his life together, leading to a powerful reconciliation with Mickey and the continued development of Mickey and Charlene’s relationship.
THE FIGHTER wants to be a rousing story about a boxer defying all sorts of physical, emotional and financial setbacks to become a winner, and it succeeds by the end on most levels. Its closing fight footage is particularly striking and overcomes too-tame ring footage earlier. Where the movie goes wrong early on is in its relentlessly unflattering depiction of Mickey and Dicky’s family, portraying them as hideous “white trash” who can barely string a sentence together. Perhaps this is an accurate depiction of South Boston residents and their family. However, it rings false by trying too hard and seeming almost comedic at times when it isn't trying to be.
Also, Bale, Wahlberg and Adams deliver powerful performances, with Adams particularly noble and touching in her role as the woman who helps Mickey open his eyes to the way his life really is and what it can become. Even so, Bale’s performance in the first half, while his character is a drug addict, is almost too cocky and cartoonish. When he seeks redemption and cleans his life up, however, his performance also soars into greatness.
Ultimately, the movie strongly shows troubled people who came to realize they wanted more out of life and worked hard to achieve it. THE FIGHTER reminds us all of the importance of family and of the powerful transformation we can all achieve when we accept that we need the help of God and those around us.
Extreme caution is advised, however, because of much foul language, some intense boxing scenes, drug references, and a passionate scene involve brief partial nudity.
THE FIGHTER tells a rousing story, but some of its depictions seem unintentionally funny and awkward. The three leads ultimately deliver powerful performances, with Amy Adams particularly noble and touching in her role as the woman who helps Mickey open his eyes to the way his life really is and what it can become. However, Christian Bale’s performance as Dicky is a bit over-the-top in the beginning. THE FIGHTER reminds viewers of the importance of family and of the powerful transformation we can achieve when we accept we need the help of God and those around us. Extreme caution is advised, however, because of much foul language, some intense boxing scenes, drug references, strong alcohol use, criminal activity, and a passionate scene with brief partial nudity.