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
Braddock, Gould and the radio announcer all refer to the Madison Square Garden Bowl as "The Garden," but that was a nickname reserved for Madison Square Garden itself. The Bowl wasn't even in Manhattan -- it was in Queens -- and it was an outdoor arena. 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 »
Geez, another boxing movie! Yeah, Yeah, I know the story. Down and out guy gets a break and makes the most of it. He's fighting for his family, he's fighting for all those other hopeless people. Been there, done that.
Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. This movie is about the best 140 minute I've spent in a movie theater since . . . . since . . . ., Oh, well, you get the picture. Better yet, instead of getting the picture, go see it.
Russell Crowe owns the character of James Braddock, the unlikely hero who makes the most of his second chance. He's a good fighter turned hack. Injury, bad luck and this thing called the Depression sends him down the drain.
His wife, Mae, played by Renee Zelleweger, wants to be his biggest fan, but the kids need a dad, the rent has to get paid and the money from boxing dried up along time ago. Her husband's courage is undoubted, but his nerve is killing her.
And then there's Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti.
A boxer by the name of George Cochan once told me his manager was the bravest man he ever knew, he was willing to pit his man (Cochan) against anyone. As a result, Cochan had his head handed to him multiple times by the likes of Jake LaMotta and other class middle weights of the Forties and Fifties. Gould, is that brave manager, if not literally, in spirit. He pits Braddock, out of shape and with one day notice, against the number two heavy weight contender. Regardless of the risk, it's a pay day needed by both Gould and Braddock.
The story, while familiar, is executed brilliantly. The camera work is both subtle and, in turn, spectacular. Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill and the rest of the cast give flawless performances.
Yes, been there, done that! And I'm ready to do it again for anyone who wants to go with me.
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