"Tragedy of a Celebrity Junkie"
What You Need To Know:
THE WRESTLER is powerfully told and even redemptive at times, but it is a tragedy about a celebrity junkie who eventually destroys himself. Ultimately, therefore, this is an extremely depressing movie. Even worse, the movie contains explicit and extreme foul language, violence, sex, and nudity.
(HH, Ro, B, C, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, DDD, MM) Strong humanist worldview shows people not turning to God to solve big personal problems with some Romantic, moral, redemptive elements undercut by tragic ending; about 76 obscenities, 14 strong profanities and five light profanities plus man having a heart attack throws up; extreme wrestling violence includes man cuts forehead with razor blade to fake being hurt, many professional wrestling movies, people hit with chairs, men attack one another with staple gun, wrestlers wrapped in barbed wire, man cuts finger while working in a deli, and wrestler jumps on top of other wrestlers while standing on the ropes; depicted fornication, depicted lap dance, visits to a strip club; scenes of upper and rear female nudity, plus scenes of rear male nudity and upper male nudity, mostly in wrestling scenes and locker room scenes; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and wrestlers take pills and wrestler protagonist takes, buys and sells pills before having to give them up after heart attack; and, protagonist has not been a good father to his estranged daughter and misses an important appointment with her after trying to make some amends, protagonist gets angry with customers at deli counter in market where he works and takes out his frustrations on them, and protagonist eventually ignores doctor’s orders to give up wrestling.
THE WRESTLER is a tragic drama about a middle-aged wrestler who tries to leave his wrestling days behind him and find redemption through others. When the woman he loves lets him down, he lets himself down, and tragedy results.
Mickey Rourke stars as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a middle-aged wrestler who found fame and glory in the 1980s. Now, 20 years later, he’s still wrestling in minor events, living hand-to-mouth off his former glory days. Randy is interested in a local stripper, Cassidy, played by Marisa Tomei, but she is wary of getting involved with a customer, especially someone who’s clearly down and out.
After a brutal bout involving a staple gun, Randy suffers a heart attack. The doctors tell him that he has to quit wrestling, including quit popping all the steroids and pain killers he’s taking. Obediently, Randy obliges. He even decides to renew bonds with his estranged daughter, Stephanie, and takes a deli job at a grocery store that’s been hiring him to move boxes of goods.
Cassidy the stripper, who’s also growing too old for her “profession,” starts becoming attracted to this cleaned-up version of the wrestler. When, however, she backs away from getting involved, Randy goes off the wagon, which leads to the movie’s final tragedy.
THE WRESTLER is powerfully told and even redemptive at times, but it is a tragedy about a celebrity junkie who eventually destroys himself. Unable to cope in his personal life, Randy seeks the adulation and adrenaline that comes from being a crowd-pleasing wrestler, but that’s what kills him in the end. Ultimately, therefore, this is an extremely depressing movie. Adding insult to injury is the movie’s extreme level of foul language, violence and sexual content, along with some explicit nudity. It is not a movie that MOVIEGUIDE® recommends, despite Mickey Rourke’s duly acclaimed performance.