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Southpaw (2015)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Sport  |  24 July 2015 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 65,862 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 186 user | 245 critic | 42 from

Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tick Wills
Jordan Mains
Jon Jon
Miguel 'Magic' Escobar
Jose Caraballo ...
Eli Frost
Aaron Quattrocchi ...
Keith 'Buzzsaw' Brady


As tragedy strikes him in his prime, famed boxer, Billy Hope, begins to fall into a great depression. Once the decision regarding the custody of his daughter is under question, Billy decides to get his life back on track by getting back into the ring.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Believe In Hope.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 July 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revancha  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,701,294 (USA) (24 July 2015)


$52,267,135 (USA) (2 October 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jake Gyllenhaal studied Miguel Cotto's boxing style in order to develop his character. See more »


The bell rings when the referee is counting 9 and Miguel is saved from a KO. In reality, once the referee starts the 10 count, the bell cannot save you (WBF rule #4.6). But Escobar was already up before the ten count. The 'Saved by the bell' said by the commentator is merely an opinion that if the bell wasn't rung Escobar couldn't have survived another hit from Billy. See more »


Angela Rivera: You on any form of medication?
Billy Hope: I took some Advil. You're gonna write that down?
Angela Rivera: Mmm-hmm.
Billy Hope: "He took some Advil. He can't see his kid"?
See more »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 6 August 2015 (2015) See more »


Cry For Love (Part 2)
Performed by James Horner
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Formulaic but entertaining, in its own way, with an excellent cast doing excellent work.
17 July 2015 | by ( – See all my reviews

There's got to be something magical at work here. Strictly speaking, there isn't a shred of anything remotely original in Southpaw's DNA. Boil the narrative down to its bare bones, and it's a tried-and-tested, tried-and-tired retread of the sports movie. It's not even metaphorically about getting back up after life knocks you down - that's literally the plot of the film. And yet, through Antoine Fuqua's sensitive direction, Kurt Sutter's punchy dialogue and some excellent performances, Southpaw somehow transcends its own generic limitations.

We meet the scrappy Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) at the height of his career as a boxer. He's the undefeated champion of the world in his category, and after each match, he gets to drag his broken, bruised body home to his doting wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and adorable daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). It's a far better life than a kid born and raised on the streets could have hoped for. But, one terrible day, tragedy strikes. Practically overnight, Billy loses everything: his career, his lifestyle, and his family. Trapped by grief, depression and his grim circumstances, Billy must fight hard to get back on his feet and recover what he can of his old life.

From an objective standpoint, Southpaw is almost breathtakingly old- fashioned and unoriginal. You've definitely seen it all before - arrogant athlete suffers an ignominious setback, and must gain some humility and a better understanding of the more important things in life before he can complete his journey towards redemption. Sutter's script seems to almost thrive on its many clichés. He saddles his protagonist with the weighty and completely unsubtle surname of Hope. When all seems bleak, Billy's scheming agent Jordan Mains (Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson) deserts him for his chief rival. Billy acquires a gruff but trustworthy mentor in the form of Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker). The film has even forgotten to explain - or take into account - its title, which refers to a stance adopted by left- handed boxers in the ring.

And yet, for all its flaws, Southpaw is a compelling, touching and surprisingly truthful effort. Fuqua tackles the predictable elements of the story with such verve and sensitivity that he manages to make them more palatable. The director unearths the gnawing heartbreak in Billy's anguish, as he visits a daughter who has grown cold and unresponsive towards him. The relationship that develops between Billy and Tick has its obligatory share of training montages, but also features moments of genuine connection between the two men, as they drink, mourn and bond with each other.

Though it never becomes what you might call a classic, Southpaw occasionally flirts with greatness. That's due almost entirely to its cast. McAdams channels her trademark sunshine and charm into a relatively thankless supporting role. Her energy and chemistry with Gyllenhaal add invaluable weight to the emotional stakes in the film, lingering long after each of her scenes with her on-screen husband. Whitaker, who could play his part in his sleep, thankfully doesn't do so. Instead, he's very present, suggesting a darker inner life to his character that's fascinating to watch. Laurence, meanwhile, is a great find. She plays every aspect of Leila - her innocence and vulnerability, as well as her resentment and steely determination - with a piercing, heartbreaking truthfulness.

The main draw, however, is Gyllenhaal, and for very good reason. Frankly, no one would have expected him to take the part of Billy Hope, which had originally been designed with rapper Eminem in mind. And yet, Gyllenhaal once again proves with Southpaw, as he has done with his consistently bold and off-kilter career choices, that he might very well be the finest actor of his generation. In a complete turnaround from his skeletal look in last year's Nightcrawler, he's practically unrecognisable as the beefed-up, mumbly Billy, burying his own slim frame and fine bone structure beneath layers of weight and muscle. Beyond the physical transformation, however, are Billy's darker demons. It's here where Gyllenhaal excels, as Billy taps into, releases and, ultimately, learns to temper the almost blinding rage that both drives and traps him.

Truth be told, there are better movies out there about boxing and/or redemption. This isn't Rocky, much less Raging Bull. But, somehow, Southpaw pulls off that weird, difficult trick of being predictable but compelling at the same time. The ending may never be in doubt, but there's a certain pleasure to be derived from the journey. If all else fails, watch this for Gyllenhaal, who's currently doing some of the best, most vital work of his career.

81 of 107 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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