The Fighter is a drama about boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely road to the world light welterweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer on the verge of being KO'd by drugs and crime.Written by
During the 2011 Academy Awards awards campaign, Melissa Leo financed and took out her own "For Your Consideration" ads for a Best Supporting Actress nomination; a first in Hollywood. The publicity move was viewed as controversial by many industry insiders, but it ultimately paid off for Leo, who not only was nominated, but won the Oscar. See more »
When Dicky is running in the prison yard he appears to have a full head of hair, whereas in the rest of the movie he has a noticeable bald patch. See more »
[during the press conference]
In fact, we expected a much better fighter.
I'm just grateful to be here and have the opportunity. Thank you, guys, for the shot.
Shea, who DO you respect as a fighter, and who'd you like to fight next?
I plan on moving right through Micky Ward tomorrow, moving on to other great fighters, like Gatti. Yeah, I believe Gatti and I'd make a great match.
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The real Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund are shown during the end credits. See more »
Written and Performed by Daryl Hall and John Oates
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
"O the joy of the strong-brawn'd fighter, towering in the arena in perfect condition, conscious of power, thirsting to meet his opponent." Walt Whitman
Mark Wahlberg has achieved a career high with The Fighter, not so much for his acting, which is eclipsed by a supportive cast that would be hard to beat in the Oscar race, but because he fought for years to bring the story of Lowell, Mass. to the screen. He caught perfectly the blue-collar town's karma and their devotion to the fighting brothers, "Irish" Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).
Director David O. Russell has assembled this cast around the idea that a town in the shadow of Boston can become world famous as its sons become winners in the ring. But then, Stallone did more for Philadelphia as Rocky, so what's the big deal? Like Ben Affleck's excellent thriller this year about Boston in The Town, Fighter captures place and struggle in equal dramatic measure as filmmakers take a close look at the working class's struggles over the last 30 years. While Million Dollar Baby (2004) focused on trainer and fighter and Cinderella Man (2005) gave a microscopic view of a troubled fighter and his small family, The Fighter does all of that with a vigor as exhausting as a bout itself.
The Fighter is not just about boxing because as in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980), it's all about people who find in the sport a way to transcend their social prison. In The Fighter, it is more even about family, which weighs heavily on Micky's success or failure. And outside family as well, for girlfriend, bartender Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), is a formidable force in liberating Micky from the suffocating family (his five harpy sisters and domineering manager mother, Melissa Leo, fearsome in her cigarette smoke and driving vision for her sons). Unlike other boxing films, Fighter is patient with Micky's long climb to success, almost painfully long but rewarding in the reality of its prolonged struggle.
But it's also the acting that distinguishes it: Christian Bale as Dicky transforms himself again by losing weight and morphing into a manic brother who loves Micky despite Dicky's negative life of drugs and mania; Amy Adams is believable as the gritty but beautiful girl friend; and Melissa Leo plays mom like a lady Macbeth in tight Dockers.
Although there will be heavier films competing for 2010's Oscar, I can't think of another whose cast so eloquently has caught the poverty and riches of a town caught in boxing fever.
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