During the Great Depression, a common-man hero, James J. Braddock--a.k.a. the Cinderella Man--was to become one of the most surprising sports legends in history. By the early 1930s, the impoverished ex-prizefighter was seemingly as broken-down, beaten-up and out-of-luck as much of the rest of the American populace who had hit rock bottom. His career appeared to be finished, he was unable to pay the bills, the only thing that mattered to him--his family--was in danger, and he was even forced to go on Public Relief. But deep inside, Jim Braddock never relinquished his determination. Driven by love, honor and an incredible dose the ones who are do of grit, he willed an impossible dream to come true. In a last-chance bid to help his family, Braddock returned to the ring. No one thought he had a shot. However Braddock, fueled by something beyond mere competition, kept winning. Suddenly, the ordinary working man became the mythic athlete. Carrying the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Russell Crowe is 5'11 and Craig Bierko is 6'3. In reality Jim Braddock and Max Baer where the same height at 6'2. See more »
When Braddock is viewing the footage of Max Baer killing Frankie Campell in the ring, at the end two people start to pick up Frankie's body. His left arm starts to slide off his body until he raises it slightly for a moment. See more »
Before the title appears the following: "In all the history of the boxing game, you'll find no human interest story to compare with the life narrative of James J. Braddock." - Damon Runyon (1936) See more »
Wow, this was an involving story and the best boxing movie I think I've ever seen, and I've seen most of them.
It's an old-fashioned underdog rags-to-riches sports story about a very likable hero, heavyweight boxer James J. Braddock, played fantastically by Russell Crowe. This is another "Seabiscuit," meaning a true-life tale of longshot going up against extraordinary odds.
More than the boxing, however, this is a great family story of a devoted husband and father and a loving, supporting wife and mother. That's the crux of this biography, more than the boxing angle. Nothing but the highest of morals and ethics are espoused by our hero here, who would starve himself rather see his children miss a meal, while teaching his kids honesty and unselfishness and doing whatever it took to take care of his family. Renee Zellweger also shines as Braddock's wife. After a string of some sleazy roles, it's nice to see Zellweger play this type of character. The two make an inspiring couple which is refreshing to see in this age of cynical film-making. This is another reason why I label this an old-fashioned story. The primary subject's strengths, not flaws, are emphasized.
Is it exaggerated? Probably, but I have no complaints seeing a good guy look better instead of worse. One gets tired of the modern-day age of the "anti-hero." It's nice once again to see a good man propped up instead of shot down.
The third major character in the film is "Joe Gould" (Paul Giamatti), Braddock's trainer and loyal friend. Unfortunately, he spits out the Lord's name in vain so many times I lost count, the only objectionable aspect of this film. But Gould was the kind of friend every guy would want.
Craig Bierko gets fourth billing as Max Baer, the reigning heavyweight champ whom Braddock has to beat to get the title. Now here is where I would not be surprised if his movie character was nothing like real life because Hollywood has to have a "bad guy" to counteract the "good guy" so here it is Baer, the last obstacle in the way of Braddock's quest to be heavyweight champion. Whatever the real Baer was like I don''t know but I know Bierko does a great job in this role.
The boxing scenes, supervised by real-life Hall Of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee, are lifelike and well-done. Crowe did a wonderful job of imitating Braddock's ring style.
The story isn't the only thing that is entertaining. Visually, this is a wonderful treat for your eyes. It's simply beautiful and director Ron Howard really excelled in capturing the 1930s Depression era with some beautifully muted colors. The sets are fantastic and the clothing, cars, buildings, etc put you smack in the middle of the 1930s. There are great production values in this film and the DVD does it all justice with a fabulous transfer on widescreen DVD.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this