The Fighter (2010) Poster

(I) (2010)

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Wahlberg's Corner
littlemartinarocena28 December 2010
In many ways, "The Fighter" is the film of 2011. A family drama with a pugilistic background. The punches, physical and emotional in and out of the ring took me completely by surprise. What didn't surprise me was Mark Wahlberg's signature all over the place. Let me explain: Many years ago I was at a lecture by director Martin Donovan when during the Q&A somebody made fun of the fact that Calvin Klein underwear model Marky Mark had played a part (his first acting role) in Donovan's made for TV "The Substitute" Donovan with elegance, wit and firmness destroyed the guy asking the question, describing Wahlberg's strengths and ended up saying "Mark Wahlberg will be one of the top actors around and he will probably be running Hollywood within a decade" I had Donovan's words buzzing in my ears when I sat speechless watching "Boogie Nights". Wahlberg also produced "Entourage" and the startling "In Treatment". He now produced "The Fighter" and his performance, interior and powerful, dominates the film allowing other members of the cast, to shine in truly showy roles, Christian Bale for instance - really good. Melissa Leo is a stand out as the mother/manager. Superb. So I won't be surprised to see Mark Wahlberg receiving the top honors at the next Academy Awards, as an actor and producer. He certainly deserves it. Bravo!
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Supporting Roles stole the limelight
CarpeDiem1215 March 2018
This a great American family drama movie. Shows the ups and downs of a big crazy family with 2 boxers in the family. The big ''legend'' Bale and his young brother Wahlberg. This story is about how the younger brother who looks up to his crack addicted older ''legend' brother for guidance and advice, has to turn away from him and his toxic family to succeed in his boxing career.

It shows the struggles of a young fighter as he attempts to turn his life around after always living in the shadows of his brother. How he faces dilemma's when confronted with his family and newfound love interest (amy adams) about what is good for his career.

Walhberg does a good job with his role but the supporting cast take the cake. Bale, Melissa Leo and Adams all acted incredibly and are worthy of the awards. This just shows how well acted this whole film is.
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Conventional script elevated by great direction and fantastic performances
Monotreme0218 December 2010
After Rocky, Raging Bull, Ali, Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella man, and many others, one begins to wonder how many more boxing movies we really need in the world, and what a new one can bring to the table. Indeed, watching The Fighter, one can't help but wonder what the film can do to renew the genre and bring something new to the table. Unfortunately, the answer is "nothing much". The script is a pretty conventional rags-to-riches story, whose most interesting element is the relationship between Micky Ward and his brother, Dickie Eklund. Luckily, Russell and company recognized that this was the strongest aspect of what is otherwise a good but ordinary and somewhat flawed script, with some problems with flat characterizations and unnatural-sounding dialogue. However, everyone involved in the film tries their best to transcend the script, and for the most part, they succeed.

Russell's direction is absolutely fantastic. His use of the camera – which still has that indie looseness, free-moving and hand-held and gritty quality to it, which really adds to the atmosphere and energy the film tries to capture. His staging of scenes is fantastic and he usually just lets his actors riff off of one another, sometimes sticking to the script but sometimes talking over one another, interrupting, and creating a very dynamic back-and- forth that further lends to the realistic quality of the film and its setting. A fantastic rock- oriented soundtrack only adds to this energy and atmosphere. In terms of bringing something new to the table of boxing movies, Russell employs a very interesting technique of filming the boxing scenes as they were shown on HBO pay-per-view TV in the 90's; cheap video quality, multi-camera set-ups, the whole package. The boxing scenes were all shot over 3 days, which left the crew just enough time to run through one boxing match at a time and just shooting it as if it were an actual match, the cameras capturing everything, including mistakes and mess-ups and spontaneous, uncontrolled occurrences which yet again add to the very loose and realistic style the film attempts to capture. It is a very interesting and unique technique I have not seen used before, and I thought it was a fresh approach to boxing scenes, which have become very conventional ever since Raging Bull.

Ultimately, though, this is a movie about two brothers and their overcoming demons and obstacles in order to succeed and reach their mutual goal, together. Being a character-based film, the success of the acting is a key to the success of the film, and luckily, it is in this field that the film succeeds the most. Mark Wahlberg is adequate in the lead role of Micky Ward. I have never thought much of him as an actor and think that he did an "okay" job on this film; not bad but not particularly noteworthy. However, his supporting cast all shine, and his chemistry with them, especially with Christian Bale, is really what sells the movie for me. Bale's achievement is nothing short of revolutionary. He completely steals the show as Micky's crack-addicted older brother and trainer, a former boxer himself, and a shadow of his old self, except he can still throw one hell of a punch and knows just what Micky needs to do in order to succeed. Bale completely embodies the role and really gives it his all – both in his appearance (hollow cheeks, bulgy eyes, balding) but also in his bravura performance. It is an incredible feat of acting, one of the best I have seen all year; Bale's best work as an actor yet, and totally deserving of all the accolades it will inevitably receive. Also worth mentioning though are the two main female supporting roles, namely Amy Adams as the tough and sassy but supportive girlfriend, and Melissa Leo as the overbearing mother. Both actresses are very much out of their comfort zone, which is just what makes their performances so good. Adams, who has never really shown her tough side like she does in this film, does a spectacular job, and really creates someone human and relatable out of what is otherwise an underwritten character. The same goes for Melissa Leo: her character could have gone the completely one-dimensional villainous way, but Leo adds a certain humanity to the character which just makes her seem more sad than vicious.

Ultimately, The Fighter tells a pretty conventional story in an interesting and not necessarily conventional way. It is a film that could have been over-dramatized and heavy-handed had it been put in another director's hands (see Cinderella Man for an example of over- dramatization), but Russell and his cast reign it in and set out to create a very specific atmosphere and set a particular mood that lends the film a sense of realism and a very unique dynamic energy that, with the help of the fantastic performances from the cast, help carry it above and beyond its conventional script.
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Excellent cast focuses boxing drama on family dynamics not usual themes
Movie_Muse_Reviews27 December 2010
When it comes to winning awards, boxing films seem to always be contenders; as such, the thought of watching "another boxing film" can be off-putting. But "The Fighter" hangs in and fends off those labels, earning every bit of its critical praise. That's because most of the fighting in this film takes place out of the ring; "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) spars with the troublesome brother who trains him and his mother who manages him and these superb supporting characters have their own challengers to overcome.

David O. Russell brings a needed dose of realism to the boxing genre, downplaying the underdog nature of Micky's true story and focusing on the relationships that push him through and hold him back all throughout his journey toward the welterweight title. Much of the time, in fact, the story feels equally Micky's and his brother's. Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), as beat over our heads early in the film, went ten rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard and knocked him down, becoming the pride of small working-class town Lowell, Mass. — which as one might imagine, wasn't hard.

But Dickie, an off-kilter, fun-loving yet irresponsible guy (a transformative performance from Bale to say the least), spends the time he's not training Micky in crack houses. In fact, he's completely oblivious to the fact that HBO is following him around for their documentary on crack abuse, not one about his "comeback." It's clear that his behavior is keeping Micky, whose had a string of bad losses of late, down. After an embarrassing fight in which Micky was mismatched, Micky suddenly finds himself wondering whether he should keep his boxing career and family separate.

The idea of it irritates Micky's mother Alice, played by Melissa Leo, who impressively embodies every controlling mother. Alice sits in her house most days and smokes cigarettes while her seven grown daughters pathetically vie for her attention. Leo keeps Alice from being an aggravating total monster, providing a more complete picture of a mother whose blurred the line between business and family.

Amy Adams also excels in her supporting role, a bartender and college dropout, but one who — like the audience — sees how Micky's family has kept him back and as his girlfriend pushes him toward the right path. Interestingly, as she grows more invested in Micky's career, the script divides her from the audience, which gives her performance more weight.

Russell's characters have a harsh reality to them, much like the Boston-based characters in Ben Affleck's films "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town." In addition to looks, clothes and mannerisms, Russell chooses a more hand-held documentary feel for the film like Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" and even opts to film parts of the boxing sequences with lenses like the ones used in the late '90s to give the feel of watching a live broadcast.

The fights, though effective, remain secondary to the other "fighting." Watching Dickie spiral downward and come back up again, Alice have trouble letting go and Micky struggle to speak up for himself and recognize what he truly needs serves as the more compelling conflict. All together, they give "The Fighter" the best ensemble cast of 2010. And like all great boxing films, all these tensions blow in and out make their way symbolically into the boxing ring for that final fight. As Dickie urges on his brother in the waning rounds of the championship fight, he captures it perfectly when he says "everything that's happened, take that out there with you."

The emotional moments of "The Fighter" do lack a real knockout and many intimate moments are tempered with humor in awkward but not scene-ruining ways, but rather than be a heavyweight drama that rides the underdog story for two hours, "The Fighter" opts to be something a bit more natural by fixing on the right things: the people and the personal relationships that hurt or harm us, are all essential to our success.

~Steven C

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Great direction and performances make this an excellent film
Red_Identity2 January 2011
Do we have a lot of sport films where the underdog ends up winning and overcoming many obstacles along the way until the end? Definitely. Does The Fighter succeed? Very much so...

For a film like this it is very difficult to make it completely unpredictable, yet while The Fighter is in a way conventional, it is also unpredictable many times. It has great characters to boot, but also a strong cast that is willing to give it their all. This is the best ensemble cast of the year,, many amazing performances. First, I start off with Mark Wahlberg, who has been the most under the radar, but he is definitely up for this. He is a great lead and I am surprised he was as good as he was. I am also very pleasantly surprised by Amy Adams. Not to say she is a bad actress, but I was always used to her roles all being similar and now she is in a completely different role for her, and to say she succeeds is an understatement. She is excellent, and is only made strong when sharing the screen with any other actor. Melissa Leo is also great, and I think she is on par with Adams. The difference between Adams and Leo is that Leo has the more award-baity role. Now we have Christian Bale, who I do think is the best. I have seen his performances and while he has always been good, he has never truly risen above others in his films, here he does. He is excellent, and he as of now deserves that Oscar.

David Russel's direction is part of what makes this film so great, He soars scenes to unbelievable heights and I think that the screenplay in another director's hands would have came out with a merely good film. But here, we have an excellent film, perhaps better than 2008's The Wrestler, and one of the best films of the year.
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A winner!
jdesando27 December 2010
"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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A Winner On Multiple Levels
Chrysanthepop28 January 2011
Does David O. Russell's 'The Fighter' follow the formula of underdog surpassing all obstacles and winning in the end (as is the case with this genre)? The answer is yes but 'The Fighter' still manages to maintain a unique quality. First of all, the four principle characters: Micky, Dicky, Charlene and Alice are unlike anyone one has seen in this kind of film.

They are wonderfully defined and the actors who portray them are cast against type and turn in their finest performance. Both Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are like you've never seen them before and they appear very natural on screen. Mark Wahlberg is superly restrained and Christian Bale does one of his best works of his entire career. They are supported by a host of impressive actors.

In addition to the marvelous performances, the makeup department has done a remarkable job, especially by making Leo look old enough to play Bale and Wahlberg's mother. Bale actually does look years older than Wahlberg (when in reality he's a year younger) and that just adds more to the authenticity.

From the opening sequence, I was under the impression that 'The Fighter' was going to be a documentary-type movie but O. Russell tricks and surprises the audience with that. His execution is subtle unlike the loud approach which other directors commonly follow.

For me 'The Fighter', is more about the human connection than the sports itself. Boxing is clearly a metaphor as is the title which has multiple meanings. Even though he's been constantly let down by his family, Micky chose to give them a second chance and have them by his side. Even though Charlene disapproves Alice and Dicky's involvement in Micky's career, Dicky attempts to persuade her because he knows that Micky won't stand a chance without her by his side. Even though Alice and Charlene don't see eye to eye, there's a silent acceptance between them as they know that Micky needs them both.

I am really beginning to have more respect for Mark Wahlberg for producing gems like this (in addition to some amazing TV-series like 'In Treatment', 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Entourage') and his growth as an actor is obviously apparent (he just needs to avoid tripe like 'The Happening' at all costs).

'The Fighter' is a winner on various levels.
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Everyone involved in this film just made a fan of me
MaralynSpeaking29 November 2010
Such a fully satisfying film is a rarity. A story of family, struggle, and love told with great humor, intelligence and heart. I've already seen it twice and am telling everyone I meet to be sure to catch it. I was blown away by Amy Adams' touching performance in JUNE BUG and by the raw beauty of Melissa Leo's work in FROZEN RIVER, but have been slow to distinguish among the crop of young male stars and directors who deserve to be household names. Christian BALE, MARK WAHLBERG, and David O. RUSSELL are names now branded in my consciousness. This season I've been stunned by the creative forces at work in films including SOCIAL NETWORK and JACK GOES BOATING, but for its overall achievement, this amazing film based on the true story of two boxers from Lowell, Massachusetts earns a championship. It is much more than just a fight film or a biopic though it certainly sweeps us into the drama of the boxing ring and quivers with the diamond gleam of truth. Bale's finely etched creation of Dicky and Wahlberg's extraordinary dual turn as producer and star in the role of Dicky's brother Micky should place both men front and center for Oscar nominations along with Russell who shaped the film with a keen sensitivity. Russel's team of artists including cinematographer, costume and sound design were all spot on in their respective contributions. Tho Leo and her gaggle of daughters struck me at first as verging on caricature, I quickly saw that they perfectly captured the family culture while providing a delicious comic motif.
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Wicked outstanding film
johnceallach22 November 2010
This is the film that David O'Russell and the cast and crew have outdone themselves on. the best way to say it is WIcked outstanding. It not only told the story of "Irish" Micky Ward, Dickie Eklund and the family aspect but was a credit to the real internal and external struggle of never giving up. "the fighter " does proper justice to the hardworking ways and the People of Mass and Boston areas.

In this film , the title has a double meaning as not only being a fighter as a boxer but speaks to many that in regular life that being "The Fighter" success can happen if you put the work in. The story does have strong female leads in this film that has never been shown in previous boxing based films. It is a cross over to both worlds ( male and female, Young and Old) and those that would usually skip a Boxing based film as it is much more then just that.

I was at screening of "The Fighter" in the Beverly Hills theater with Director David O'Russell and main Cast ( Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams ,Melissa Leo) The Director and cast show their love and passion for this film and how hard they all worked to make this possible in their very warm words and replies to the questions from the audience. In all , a class group of fine professionals and actors put their heart and soul into this one and I hope their efforts are well rewarded when it comes time to nominate and vote for Oscars.
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The Fighter driven only by flawless performances.
jcaesar-012513 March 2017
Look, i like the film, I think it's awesome but I also think were the characters were played by less effective actors, this wouldn't be as awesome as it is. The biggest fault for me, is that the main character has less personality than most sports characters in sport films. Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) has a crackhead brother, former boxing great played flawlessly by Christian Bale, and he has manager-mom played by brilliant Melissa Leo. Mark Wahlberg has range, he is a good actor, but Mickey just fell flat for me. I wasn't invested much in Mickey so when the boxing matches came on, I didn't care much. But the performances by the backup cast are fantastic. If anything, that's worth the concession price.
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Fighting in and out of the ring
Derek23717 December 2010
Wow, what a movie. It's an inspirational true story of a boxer finally getting his break. It's also a story of addiction, and how it can affect loved ones. And above all, it's about family. There are some great boxing scenes in THE FIGHTER, they feel authentic and brutal, but the true fight is really outside the ring. Which is not to say this is an overbearing melodrama, no, far from it. It handles the subject matter gracefully. It has a lot of heart and can be quite funny, and there are some humorously absurd moments, something director David O. Russell has proved to be very good at providing.

Mark Wahlberg gives a great performance playing the lead character, Micky. This is Wahlberg's most reserved and complex role to date. Micky has an unbreakable devotion to his family, which both strengthens and cripples him. He never really speaks for himself, and would rather suffer than upset those around him. Through the course of the movie the character really grows, thanks to the help of a good woman by his side. Mark Wahlberg shows a side of himself we've never seen before, this isn't the over-the-top badass THE DEPARTED Wahlberg, which don't get me wrong, is awesome too, but he finds a different range here. Truly the guy has come a long way from The Funky Bunch.

Christian Bale is absolutely phenomenal in his scene-stealing role as Micky's drug-addicted brother. This is such a great character that Bale really brings a lot of depth to. Dicky's easily angered, often detached and oblivious to how his affliction is affecting his life. He's also ashamed and vulnerable. He's not the most reliable guy in the world and he's in need of a serious wake-up call. But the thing can completely understand why Micky would stand by him for so long. Underneath it all, he really is a great guy, full of energy and affection- somebody you'd really want in your corner. This is sure to go down as one of Bale's most remembered roles, and hopefully his enormous talent will finally be recognized by winning an Academy Award for it.

Behind every great man is a great woman, and Amy Adams also delivers a fantastic performance as Micky's girlfriend, who really helps him develop some backbone and at the same time is able to find some clarity in her misguided life. She's great in her role, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't thoroughly enjoy the eye-candy she brings to the movie. She has her fair share of revealing outfits and in one scene is shown wearing a see-through bra. Now THAT'S great filmmaking!

Also notable, just because it stood out to me, is that Conan O'Brien's sister, Kate, has a role in the movie, playing one of Micky's sisters. I sort of wish I wasn't privy to this information before seeing it because her resemblance to the goofy talk show host is uncanny...and a little disturbing.

I don't know why a lot of the most involving sports movies happen to be about boxing, I guess there's just something so primal and against all logic about people that get the crap beaten out of them for a living. It's worth knowing what makes these people tick. Yes, this is based on a true story, but I'm sure it's been tailored to fit Hollywood needs. Events have likely been rearranged and certain moments probably fabricated or altered, but THE FIGHTER doesn't attempt to portray the family shown here in a completely positive light. Nobody is a saint here, and everyone has their faults. When it finally arrives at its conclusion it is relieving, satisfying, and yes, inspiring. This is ultimately a happy story well deserving to be told on film but the sad reality is that there are no doubt hundreds and hundreds of similar stories that didn't end up quite as well. I can't tell you what exactly makes the family depicted in this movie so special. Maybe they're stronger, and more willing to compromise, and just maybe a little lucky, too. But I was left recalling a scene from the movie THE STRAIGHT STORY, where Richard Farnsworth lays down some wisdom upon a teenage runaway: he told her how he would give each of his kids a stick and ask them to snap them, which was easy. Then he'd give them a whole bundle, which couldn't be broken. "That's family."
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Way overrated
Gordon-1110 January 2011
This film is about a boxer who rises to stardom with the help of his half-brother, who is an ex-boxer that messes his career up by indulging in illicit drugs.

I was expecting something as emotionally gripping and touching as "The Wrestler", but "The Fighter" is nowhere near as good. "The Fighter" is so dialog heavy, and most of the time the dialog is just arguments or some unimportant nonsense. This constant babbling already put me off early into the film. The story itself is not engaging, the emotional highs and lows are not so pronounced. It just does not grip me and does not offer me an emotional ride. As a boxing film, "The Fighter" may work, but not as an Oscar worthy tearjerker.
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Two Brothers
sol-25 February 2017
On the rise to fame and success, a young boxer must decide whether to continue training with his family or seek professional training and management elsewhere in this sports drama based on true events. Mark Wahlberg is solid as the conflicted boxer in question and Amy Adams does well cast-against-type as his foul-mouthed bartender girlfriend, but is Christian Bale who steals every scene he is in as Wahlberg's older brother. A former boxing legend himself, Bale has delusions of grandeur and believes that the TV crew who have recently arrived to film him are making a documentary about his long awaited comeback when in reality they are making a film about his descent into heroine addiction. The overall film fascinatingly follows this structure too, opening with a lot of focus on Bale, only for Wahlberg to be eventually revealed as the true star (what a great metaphor for Bale's character coming to realise that not everything is about him). Melissa Leo also gets quite a bit of screen time as the brothers' overbearing mother, however, the rest of the family are disappointingly barely fleshed out all, including Jack McGee as Wahlberg's father, who could have been quite interesting given that he actually sides with Adams about his son's career. As for the sisters, they are all interchangeable stereotypes. This is, however, principally a film about the brothers and their every interaction is compelling. The end credits are also worth watching here for appearances by the brothers whose lives the film was based on - Dicky and Micky Ward.
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Bale (and Adams) Steal the Show
zkonedog10 March 2017
Ostensibly, The Fighter is a film based on the career of real-life pugilist Mickey Ward. For better or worse, however, the viewing experience is often hijacked by the acting of the supporting cast.

For a very basic overview, The Fighter focuses on Ward (Mark Wahlberg), who is essentially a tomato can of a fighter being horribly mis-managed and held back by his family, most notably mother Alice (Melissa Leo). Despite some talent and a lot of heart, he can't seem to escape his low-class Boston roots. Nor can he escape the shadow of older brother Dickie Ecklund (Christian Bale), a former pro boxer turned crackhead. It is only after meeting Charlene (Amy Adams) that Mickey obtains the self-confidence to break away from his family and give his boxing career once last legitimate shot.

In terms of story/plot, The Fighter is relatively straightforward as sports films go. All the beats are fairly well choreographed and the underdog story is the main go-to thoroughfare. Not a bad approach, per se, but nothing all that remarkable (aside from the real-figure angle) either.

What make this a memorable film are a couple of acting performances. In a very real sense, one could call this Bale's film, as his Eckland is absolutely magnetic. Your eyes will be drawn to him in every scene. To perhaps a slightly lesser extent, Adams turns in a similarly great effort. She's the "voice of reason" in the midst of the Ward/Ecklund chaos and is equal parts supportive and feisty.

As good as those Bale/Adams performances are, in an odd way they also magnify the film's greatest flaw, that being a lack of a compelling protagonist. Wahlberg isn't a horrible actor, but he simply isn't in the same class as those around him here--and it shows. Perhaps playing to the real-life Ward had something to do with this as well. But the fact of the matter is that in a movie focusing on Ward, that performance is the weakest (or at very least most bland) of the bunch.

Overall, The Fighter is a solid boxing flick that is elevated to great in spurts thanks to some award-winning (literally in Bale's case) acting performances. Not necessarily an all-time classic, but not all that far away from it, either.
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The Story Of Mickey Ward
sddavis632 February 2011
As any movie of this type has to do, it finally draws you into the protagonist's situation and gets you rooting for him. In this case the protagonist is real-life boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who has to overcome big odds - not the least of which is an extremely dysfunctional family headed up by his controlling mother Alice (Melissa Leo) and his drug addict brother Dicky (Christian Bale) who used to be a boxer and who's claim to fame was knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard (or did Sugar Ray slip?) and who now wants to live his dream through his brother. I appreciated the fact that Sugar Ray appeared as himself in a couple of brief scenes. By the time Mickey gets his title shot you are rooting for him, and you do admire his strength in overcoming the challenges he's faced. The actual title shot, mind you, struck me as a bit anti- climactic to be honest. It was pretty quickly portrayed and frankly the whole thing ultimately left me a bit empty, although I was satisfied to see Mickey become the champ.

For three-quarters of the movie, though, the focus is really on the dysfunctional family relationship, and the challenge presented to that relationship by the sudden appearance of Charlene (Amy Adams) - a local bartender and college dropout who hooks up with Mickey and pushes him to escape his family's controlling influence. This was a good performance from Adams. I found her the most interesting of the cast, because she was playing a character very different from the usual cute and sweet roles I've seen her in, and so she demonstrated a versatility I hadn't seen from her before. Wahlberg and Bale were all right, but I didn't find anything especially noteworthy about their performances.

In the end, the biggest weakness of this movie was that it really failed to draw me in until the title fight (and to an extent the fight that led up to the title fight.) I was bored frankly by the family, who struck me as a sort of Massachussetts version of "white trash" and who weren't really all that interesting. I can't imagine growing up with those sisters. Mickey deserves credit just for not punching any of them out. This really didn't do a great deal for me. It offers about half an hour that really intensely interested me, which fizzled out in a truly too abrupt ending and focused mostly on an unappealing family.
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It's a sports film that rises above the genre to become something better.
johnshinnick30 December 2010
The Fighter is based on the true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely rise through the ranks to the WBU (World Boxing Union) light-welterweight title.

Micky's story would be a conventional sports film if not for the presence of his half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer whose life was screwed up by crack addiction and the petty crimes that associated with that life.

The brother, played by Christian Bale, makes the story interesting and charges it emotionally. Bale bursts from the skin of his character, igniting every frame with his energy (reminding, occasionally of his role as the high-energy boy in Empire of the Sun). As in The Mechanic, Bale lost a lot of weight preparing for the gaunt crack-addicted brother. He was 100 per cent convincing.

Bale's character, Davy, exudes personality every time he enters a room or walks down a street. You know he is a drug-addled screw up and you know he is going to mess up his brother's life, but the brother loves him and is loyal to him so you want to see Davy rise above his problem.

One of Bale's best scenes was shot on the front porch of the house where Charlene, Micky's girlfriend (played by Amy Adams) lives. Clean and sober after eight months in prison, Dicky carries a ton of baggage to that porch. He has hurt people. He has conned neighbors. He has disappointed everyone but his mother and his half brother. The entire town of Lowell, Massachusetts remembers Dicky as a boxer ("The pride of Lowell") but they also remember him being addicted to crack, so nobody is prepared to believe he has gotten past the addiction during his eight months in prison.

On the porch, Micky, knowing that he carries that baggage, wants to charm Charlene and patch things up for his brother. Charlene, however, is fueled by her complete distrust of Davy. She loves Micky and she has seen Dicky mess up Micky's life over and over again. On the porch, she has just walked away from Micky because he insists on being loyal to Dicky. No way is she going to be easily convinced that Davy has changed.

She is skeptical of every word to come from Dicky's mouth, but Dicky pulls out all the stops in an effort to overcome his baggage and connect with her to make things right for his brother.

The immovable object meets the irresistible force. It is a fine scene.

Amy Adams is equally amazing in this film. As an actor, she is gutsy. Even when she started to command bigger paychecks, she continued to make independent films and bring to those indie films performances that made them better than they might have been. She never shies from a challenge. In this role she plays a worldly bartender who flunked out of college despite a full scholarship in high jump. As an athlete, she can understand with Micky.

In the final analysis, it is Amy Adams who makes the chemistry work between Charlene and Micky. Wahlberg can be as wooden as Ben Affleck when it comes to romantic subtleties. Amy Adams in this role is like one of those good dancers on Dancing With The Stars who has to work with a partner who might as well be a post or a tree stump. While Wahlberg is unmoving, Amy Adams' performance reaches out and emotionally draws the scenes together.

The Fighter has dimension to it, and a lot of the depth from the supporting cast.

The mother played with conviction by Melissa Leo. She runs a family home surrounded by seven adult daughters, and all seem to either be living at home or visiting their mother a lot. The sisters are a hoot, sort of like a Greek chorus on a living room couch. Highly emotional, the sisters hate Micky's girlfriend. I loved them because there was something fascinatingly hideous about the sisters.

Rocky, Raging Bull, Ali, Million Dollar Baby, and Cinderella Man are all fight films that have taken the viewer where The Fighter goes. No surprise there. Micky, as you expect, gets the crap beaten out of him. He struggles through the rank. He gets his shot at a title and he enters the ring against a better boxer to compete for a world championship. The sports genre always travels down a well-beaten path and always takes us to a happier place. Every sports film tells this oft-told tale. You enjoy the genre because getting there is what makes sports films a pleasure.

The Fighter benefits from the fact that it is not just a sports film but a story of family and redemption. You family is important, addiction is not unbeatable. The Fighter is a feel good film with a lot of ugly stuff to overcome.

IAlthough I put The Fighter along side most of the other boxing films, it could have been a lot better. If Micky had been more three-dimensional, the film might have been a classic. The elements are there, struggle and redemption. It's a true story with a lot of subtext, and that alone makes it better than Rocky. Unfortunately, Wahlberg is no DeNiro so it's no Raging Bull, and the script isn't up to Million Dollar Baby.

That said, The Fighter is worth seeing. You'll like it for the performances by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo and character actors whose faces you'll recognize from dozens of other films and television performances. You will love it for the feel-good arc, the love and redemption that are built into this genre.

If you like boxing, you'll love the action. The camera work in the ring scenes is first rate and convincing. On the big screen, you feel every punch.

However, if you are of that generation that hates boxing but likes cage fighting, there's no hope for you, sorry
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Not what I expected.
katephillips289 February 2011
Writing a review for a film like the fighter is extremely difficult to do.

A review is supposed to highlight the good and bad of it's subject, the things that worked and the things that didn't. The performances that inspired and the ones that just couldn't keep up.

You see, my problem with the fighter is that there is no problem at all, I simply cannot think of anything bad about it, anything I would tweak, change or challenge...I think the fighter is a masterpiece and I have fallen completely and utterly in love with it.

This is a rarity for me, normally there is at least something in a movie, TV program or book that I just think could have been better, or that I think was not needed, but right now I am completely stumped.

I have to admit that before watching this film I had my reservations. I have never really liked boxing movies before. I never understood the hype over Rocky and Raging Bull. I was also unsure of the cast. On paper it looked like an excuse for Mark Wahlberg to be the tough guy, and what the hell was the chirpy girl from Enchanted doing in a heavy film like the fighter? The only thing I new with certainty was that Christian Bale would give a performance that I would love, simply because he always does.

I think one of the things that makes the fighter work so well is that it is not over ambitious, yes the movie is about a boxer but it is not about the sport itself, boxing is a supporting role to a story about family. It doesn't get lost in all the drama and violence of the sport but focus's on the personal life's of those involved. This is a refreshing change.

I can talk about this movie all day, I could talk about David O Russell's great directing, the exceptional script and great shooting work until I am blue in the face. But I only have a character limit of 1000 words, besides the thing that makes the fighter so good is the performances from its exceptional cast.

This is Mark Wahlbergs labour of love, the film he has been trying to make for years and he poured his heart and soul into his character Micky. His understated and underestimated performance in this film was unexpected. Micky is quiet and peaceful, even when the world is erupting around him and his family are making life unbearable he still manages to keep his cool and deal with the punches as they come. Did he deserve an Oscar nomination for this performance? Probably yes, yet I am not surprised that he didn't. His performance and his characters quietness is simply overwhelmed by the loud, proud and damn craziness of the supporting cast and characters.

Christian Bale, in this movie, is a revelation. I would go as far to say that it is one of the best performances I have ever seen from an actor. Yet again he dropped weight for this role, and yet again he has been criticized. The criticism is uncalled for and unfair, he is playing a former welterweight boxer who is addicted to crack, show me one of those who are not skinny to the bone. He pretty much steals the show here and has proved to many that he really is one of the actors of our generation.

It is not only Bale who impresses in this movie, Melissa Leo who plays Micky and Dicky's mother is fierce and loyal. She is aggressive in her love for her children, and I pray for anyone that ever gets in her way. Leo's performance is worthy of her Oscar nomination, she is tough and edgy, a woman struggling to hold everything together when in reality everything is falling apart. Amy Adams who plays Micky's girlfriend Charlene is also brilliant, she is as tough as Leo and provides a lot of the humour with her bad ass attitude and fierce loyalty for Micky.

The fighter is without doubt one of the films of the year and maybe even the best boxing movie to come out of Hollywood. It feels real and the performances are some of the best I have seen. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone.

And, if Christian Bale does not come out of this with an Oscar I shall ignore the academy awards for the rest of my existence.
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The Bale show
joao-desousamiranda10 July 2015
The Fighter is a biography about two brothers with modest beginnings in a small US city. Bale plays the older brother, a drug addict and a failed past in boxing practice. Mark Wahlberg is the younger brother, protagonist of the story and the sportsman's most successful in this dysfunctional family, though it be the cause of your lack of progress. Bale and Melissa Leo (played well a compliant and fanatic mother) won one Oscar with this film, but the role of Amy Adams is also relevant. Given the characteristics of the actors themselves, it would be hard to get better for the type of characters that exist in the film. I really liked the character of Amy Adams but Christian Bale's performance is awesome. One more character to remember.
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The Fightar
auuwws2 January 2021
The movie was not good. The story of the film did not attract me to watch the acting performance in the film is excellent and it was the best thing in the film. I hated Micky's family, especially his mother. I do not recommend watching it.
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Sometimes boxing out of corners is not confined to the ring.
hitchcockthelegend25 February 2011
The Fighter is directed by David O. Russell and collectively written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. Music is by Michael Brook and cinematographer for the film is Hoyte van Hoytema. Film is based on the true life tale of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg), who had to battle thru family strife to give himself a chance of achieving something in the sport.

The synopsis is simple because the film is simple, but sometimes with simplicity comes great things. Such is the case with The Fighter, a boxing film that is that rare old animal of being a cliché riddled sports film: yet one that's totally raw and uplifting into the bargain. The film had a long gestation period, big names such as Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Darren Aronofsky were attached at one point, Scorsese, too, was in the frame to helm at one point, but still Wahlberg couldn't get his dream project off the ground. But all's well that ends well, for as it turned out, Russell, his director on I ♥ Huckabees & Three Kings, stepped into the ring and with Bale now on board too, the elements were in place for a Raging Bull/Rocky of this millennium. Is The Fighter worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Marty & Sly's pugilistic punchers? Hell yes it is, in fact it carries the gritty tone akin to the former and the feel good factor of the latter.

That Russell has managed to rise above the pitfalls of sports movie formula is an impressive achievement, more so given that this is treading the well worm path of rags-to-riches and triumph over adversity, but he is helped immeasurably by the performances of the principals in the cast. Wahlberg is the heart of the picture, physically he fits the bill anyway, but he has to play conflicted emotion to perfection, as Micky is pulled from pillar to post by all around him, to truly make Ward work. And he does. Bale, in the beginning, you feel is going to lay out a method turn reliant on another one of his punishing physical changes. Yet as the elder Ward brother-a fallen sportsman himself-now a crack addicted dope under the impression he's making a comeback-Bale manages to elicit empathy, sympathy and a request for us to root him out of his rut: quite a feat given the character's obvious fallibility's as kin. Adams as "the girlfriend" is spunky, brassy and tough as old boots, it's great to see her get a role so stripped down and raw it lets her showcase her dramatic talents. Rounding out the four pronged propeller of quality thesping is Leo as mother Alice. Brilliantly boisterous, angry and a maternal maelstrom of ignorant parenting, in another's hands this could have been caricature mundanity.

Some missteps exist, such as relegating Adams to the back ground in the last quarter, and for sure the final fight, although well edited and potent, is far too short and rushed to 100% capitalise on the swell of support built up for Micky up to that point. But they are minor gripes, itches easily scratched at when judging the film as a whole. For this is an uplifter for our times; a sports movie that comfortably sits up at the top with the best of them. Bravo. 9.5/10
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A pleasant surprise, with great performances all round
tomgillespie200222 February 2011
Long in the development pipeline, and long something of a labour of love for actor Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter arrives just before Awards season, depicting a often-told story about overcoming obstacles to reach your dream. Wahlberg, who takes centre stage as Irish-American welterweight boxer Mickey Ward, spent four years bulking himself up for the part and learning to fight like a professional fighter. You have to admire his dedication, as his performance and the film itself is surprisingly excellent. After all, this story has already been told in the form of Rocky, although that was told with a more fairytale edge. The Fighter is grounded in a very miserable reality, where poverty and crack-addiction is rife.

Trained by his former-professional boxer half-brother Dickie (Christian Bale), Mickey is going from fight to fight making little money and usually getting his arse handed to him. He is what is known in the boxing world as a 'stepping stone' - someone to knock out the way just before your big shot. Things aren't helped by the fact that Dickie is an unreliable crack-head, and his manager mother, is selfish and only sees what would be beneficial to her family, rather than Mickey's career. Mickey O'Keefe, a policeman and Mickey's co-trainer, believes him to be a formidable fighter, trying to do the right thing while his family keep messing things up. When Dickie is arrested and is jailed for a long stint, Mickey quits boxing and shacks up with feisty bartender Charlene (Amy Adams), much to his mother's and his seven sister's dismay. When an opportunity presents itself, Mickey must decide what is right and consider stepping back into the ring and fulfil his potential.

So far, so cliché, you may think. And you would be right to think that too, as the film does tick all the boxes. Yet it has never been done with so much dedication and heart, and this pours onto the screen for us to see. It's a film of (excuse the pun) knockout (sorry!) performances by a highly talented cast. The critics have raved about him, yet the Awards panels have failed to recognise Mark Wahlberg's restrained performance as the shy, quiet Mickey. He holds the film together as it's a film that needs a central character that you can truly root for, and Wahlberg nails it. Perhaps because it is a less showy performance than the other actors, but Wahlberg can stand tall after this, capturing the standard of acting that we have seen previously in Boogie Nights and The Yards. It is Christian Bale, however, that is scooping up the awards, and has received an Oscar nomination for his painful depiction of drug- addled Dickie Eklund. It is a fine showcase for possibly the finest actor around at the moment, and you can only sit back in awe at his complete dedication to his craft. He apparently stayed in character throughout shooting, and he lost a lot of weight to portray the decimation of Dickie's addiction. Of course, he's done this before in The Machinist, but here his acting overshadows the physical attributes.

The downside to the film is it's clichés, but I was so completely engrossed in the story and the characters that I just didn't care. It is difficult for the sports genre as a whole, as their is always something that has been done before. The better sports films of the last few years - Friday Night Lights, Million Dollar Baby, The Wrestler - also had to sacrifice originality for the sake of telling a good story, and it's the same here. Kudos, though, for director David O. Russell (who directed the fantastic Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees - both containing great Wahlberg performances) who takes an unfussy, no-nonsense approach. During the dramatic scenes, he simply points the camera and allows his actors to act, and the story to be told. He changes this, however, during the slightly disappointing boxing scenes, which are clearly influenced by Scorsese's Raging Bull, but lacking the magic and artistic flair of the 1980 classic.

Although it's never going to win the Best Picture Oscar, it is a worthy contender, much like it's protagonist. I hope Bale will received the award he so thoroughly deserves, and Wahlberg will realise he's not an action star, but a very good actor. A very pleasant surprise.
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"Bale & Leo are flawless, arguably the finest we've seen them!"
stephisthekingpin18 January 2011
Based on the True story of "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), the Massachusetts born professional boxer.

David O. Russell's "The Fighter" follows the story of a young man who grew up adoring his older half brother Dicky (Christian Bale) the hyperactive drug addicted professional boxer who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard in '78. To say Micky has a dysfunctional family would be an enormous understatement, with an overhaul of nicotine addicted controlling females led by the mother of the family, Alice (Melissa Leo) who believes she is managing his career but is blindly a burden on his professional & social life.

Micky encounters a heavily mismatched opponent organised by his family which was intended to be a morale boost leaves the hero of the film battered & embarrassed of his loss. His Life begins to change for the better when he begins to date Charlene (Amy Adams) a local barmaid popular with the men, who slowly opens his eyes that the problem with his life has been the influence of his family.

After a potentially career ending incident involving his brother/mentor Dicky, our central character with the forceful help of Charlene avoids his family and begins to train seriously with a fresh team of supporting staff; his father (Jack McGee), long-time trainer played by the real life Mickey O'Keefe & a new manager Sal (Frank Renzulli).

An extremely well re-created documentary of the original HBO feature titled "High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell" follows Dicky's long-time drug addiction to crack cocaine takes place during the film and is moving to watch.

There's an enormous amount of pressure on any Boxing based drama in cinema. With legendary classics Rocky (1975), Raging Bull (1980) or more recently Million Dollar Baby (2004), The Wrestler (2008) any film of this genre is going to be viewed with this comparison. The Fighter does extremely well to live up to it's predecessors on the screen.

Bale & Leo are flawless, arguably the finest we've seen them! Ever since the commitment Bale made to The Machinist (2004) dropping an excruciating 63Lbs for the role and then gaining it all back within weeks for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins (2005) he confirmed to audiences that he is a true character actor and is dedicated to his art. Wahlberg is steady, "The Fighter" is an appropriate fit for his style of acting, recently he has made some poor career decisions he has admitted to himself; Max Payne (2008), The Happening (2008). At times he reminds his audience what he's capable of with quality performances such as I Heart Huckabees (2004), which was his 2nd collaboration with Director David O. Russell and most notably Scorsese's Best Picture Winner The Departed (2006) for which he earned his Academy Award Nomination.

In summary The Fighter has a lot to offer a wide variety of viewers and is well worth the line up & ticket price. 4 out of 5 Stars
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Never had much invested in the outcome
howard.schumann18 December 2010
David O. Russell's The Fighter is about Mickey Ward, a personality-free junior welterweight fighter (Mark Wahlberg) the working class town of Lowell, Massachusetts whose struggles are as much outside of the ring as inside. Based on a true story, the film revolves around Mick's s relationship with his dysfunctional family that includes his half-brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), an ex-fighter called "The Pride of Lowell" because he survived ten rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard, his overbearing trash-talking mother, Alice (Melissa Leo) and his repellent seven sisters who are little more than caricatures. Mick worships Dickie who insists he once floored Sugar Ray Leonard, but Dickie has become a crack addict who is unfit for the ring except to act as his brother's trainer.

A wiry, hyper-active individual, a role at times overplayed by Bale, Dickie is interviewed by HBO who Dickie thinks they are filming a documentary on his boxing career only to find out that it is really a documentary about crack addiction in Lowell. When Mick is thrown into the ring with a fighter who weighs twenty pounds more than him and is beaten to little short of a pulp, Mick begins to open his eyes to the fact that his career is being mishandled. The issue becomes further crystallized when he meets Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), a former college student who works as a bar girl, who tells him that he should accept a promoter's offer to train in Las Vegas, away from the influence of his unstable family.

Charlene is a tough cookie with a good sense of humor and doesn't back down easily. Her resolve is tested, however, when she has to confront Mick's mother and his seven sisters who hold her opinion in little regard. With Dickie serving a prison term for impersonating a police officer, Mick's turnaround in the ring begins when he hires a local cop to be his manager, leading him to a string of victories and an upcoming title fight in London, England, the emotional high point of the film. The push and pull continues with Dickie, however, when he is released from prison and wants to resume his role as Mick's trainer. Mick's fight is as much for his manhood as it is for control of his career, but the issue is never satisfactorily resolved.

The fights are orchestrated for maximum audience involvement. Somewhat akin to Ali's "rope-a-dope", Mick is repeatedly pummeled in the early rounds of his fights but comes to life when it seems he is done for. Though this is an unlikely scenario, Russell makes it believable and, at times exciting. Mick, however, is a reluctant warrior who seems strangely out of place in a boxing ring. Comparisons have been made between Rocky (1976) and The Fighter. Rocky was also a gritty boxing movie about an underdog from the wrong side of the tracks who overcomes great odds to become a champion. Rocky Balboa, however, had heart and soul and inspired people to root for him and the film made you feel better about yourself. Though there is some fine acting in The Fighter, especially by Amy Adams, unlike Rocky, we never have much invested in the outcome.
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Not Just A Boxing Movie
ldquinn21 December 2011
Well acted production tells the story of one family, two brothers - all of whom have their own issues to be dealt with. A pretty good portrayal of a hard scrabble life in Lowell, MA.

Dialogue, script, acting and direction are all good; but, nothing really struck me as benefiting all the hype this film has generated.

This is not a boxing movie; rather, a well done character study.

Worth a couple of hours in the theater with good popcorn - an escape only - you'll not leave the theater reveling about the film - maybe not even thinking of it once you get as far as your car.

Three stars for the acting only, not the entire package.
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Who is The Fighter? Mark Wahlberg or Christian Bale?
estebangonzalez108 February 2011
¨I'm the one who's fighting. Not you, not you, and not you.¨

It's a good thing Mark Wahlberg's character reminds us about this near the end of the film because you could think that he wasn't the central theme of David O. Russell's movie due to the fact that the rest of the performances from the ensemble cast outshine him. Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams give such great performances that Wahlberg's character gets kind of lost in the midst of the story, but I don't think that's a negative critique for the film because it kind of summarizes the way his character has felt his entire life. Sidelined by his mother and seven sisters who have always shown preference toward his older half-brother (played by Christian Bale), who is sort of the local hero of a small town in Massachusetts called Lowell. Russell, who hadn't directed a film in 6 years (I Heart Huckabees), does a great job with the direction of this film thanks to a powerful script written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson. It is based on a true story, but of course has probably been modified by Hollywood for more dramatic effects. It follows the boxing career of ¨Irish¨ Micky Ward and his rise to the top against all odds. The plot may sound familiar and sort of follows the same premise every other sport movie does, however the performance from the ensemble cast makes this movie stand out from the rest. It also has a powerful screenplay and focuses on Ward's family as much as it does with his boxing career so it makes for a good balanced dramatic sports film.

The movie takes place during the 90's in Lowell, Massachusetts and opens with an HBO interview of Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale), a former boxer known as ¨the pride of Lowell¨ who once knocked down the great Sugar Ray Leonard. He lost the fight, but survived all ten rounds in the ring with him. He is a retired boxer who is now training his younger half brother, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) along with their mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), who is his manager. Dicky's convinced that HBO is making a documentary about his comeback, but the truth of the matter is that it's about crack addiction and how it can destroy people's lives. Dicky is in his 40's and consumed by his drug addiction. He spends most of his days locked up in a friend's house getting high or in prison, although he still doesn't seem to acknowledge the fact that it's slowly ruining his life. His entire family knows about his addiction, but can't seem to help him with it. Just like the rest of the people in Lowell, Micky admires his brother and listens to everything he has to say about boxing. Micky sometimes waits hours in the gym for his brother to show up and help him train, but his addiction and time in prison is hurting Micky's career as well. His mother doesn't help him very much as his manager either as she sometime pins him up in fights against boxers who are twenty pounds heavier than him. Micky is about to give up on his career until he meets Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), a sexy bartender who teaches him to stand up against his family and not give up on his dream. When Dicky is sentenced to 15 years in prison it is time for Micky to find a new trainer and fulfill his dream.

Russell's picture received 7 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. It had been a long time since his latest film (six years) and the wait was worth the while. His most acclaimed film up to this point had been Three Kings (in which he also worked with Wahlberg), but I have a feeling most people will remember him for this movie now on. The Fighter is a good film. It is more than just another boxing movie; it's a film about family and rising to the challenge. The film is so well balanced mixing boxing and family drama that I don't know if the title is referring to Wahlberg's character as a boxer, or Bale's character as a drug addict. Both of them have to fight extremely difficult odds in order to survive (Micky as a boxer and Dicky as a free junkie). The family also has to go through difficult times in order to survive, but somehow they manage to stick together despite all the differences. Christian Bale is truly the star of this film. He is so energetic and loud, that one wouldn't recognize this guy as being Batman or Sean Connor from the Terminator. The physical and emotional transformation he goes through in this film is just impressive. Melisa Leo (Frozen River) is also excellent in her role as Alice, as well as Amy Adams who also plays a different role in this film from what she has us used too. All three actors have been nominated for the Oscars, and Bale is a favorite to win. Wahlberg, as I said, sort of gets sidelined by the rest of the cast, but his performance is strong and powerful nonetheless. The Fighter isn't among my top ten films of the year, but it still is a very well balanced sports drama which I strongly recommend.
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