A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
This is a drama about an aging professional wrestler, decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows in VFW halls and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring: by working full time at the grocery store, trying to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned in childhood and forming a closer bond with a stripper he has romantic feelings for. He struggles with his new life and an offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, which may be his ticket back to stardom. Written by
Wow, what a sordid but fascinating film. I can why Mickey Rourke won so many awards for his performance, too. The same goes for the film.
The film was shocking to me: For instance, it was a shock seeing Rourke -"Randy The Ram" - with the long, flowing blond hair and rippling muscles. Hey, it's not that former boxer was ever in bad shape, but he never had muscles like this either. The man must have pumped a lot of iron to get ready for this role as an aging wrestler.
Another shock was seeing Maria Tomei, of "My Cousin Vinny" fame, naked
and in that state in more than one scene. She didn't leave much to
the imagination as "Cassidy." A third shock was seeing some of the early wrestling scenes. Yeah, pro wrestling is rough stuff and it's bloody and it's fake, etc., but the scenes in here are pretty brutal, more than I've ever seen on TV. The one extended match with the "staples" was pretty gruesome.
Evan Rachel Wood is convincing as Randy's daughter "Stephanie." This 21-year-old is no stranger to acting, having been doing it since she was four! The scenes with her and her dad are memorable.
When the shock of the above scenes of sex and violence (and language) fade away, underneath it all is a very tender, sad tale of a lonely man who invested too much in his career and, after coming close to mortality, realizes the important of family and simply being loved by anyone. That's what sticks with you long after the film ends. Loneliness can be a killer.
"Randy" tries to mend fences and post a few himself - in his final quest not to wind up as an island in this world of humanity - with both successful and unsuccessful results. Sometimes you can never change what you are, and sometimes you can. Both of those are demonstrated here in this oddly-edgy-but sentimental film.
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