#4. The Fighter

(ok, I technically didnt see this in 2010, but I saw this on New Year’s Eve and really wanted to share what I thought with you guys for my 100 films project.)

Based on a true story, The Fighter stars Mark Wahlberg as Mickey Ward , a promising boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts who is perpetually derailed by his reckless but loving family.  Trained by his magnetic but deeply troubled brother Dicky (Christian Bale) and managed by his confrontational mother Alice (Melissa Leo), Mickey gets crushed in a nationally televised fight that was poorly planned by his family.

As Mickey questions his boxing career, he falls in love with Charlene, a take-no-shit bartender played by Amy Adams.  Charlene convinces Mickey to focus his efforts on a comeback without the distraction of his overbearing family.  Constantly providing comic relief are Mickey’s seven sisters who resemble a pack of stray cats that blindly follow Alice and detest Charlene’s influence on Mickey.

As Dicky’s life has spiraled from a talented young boxer who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard into a reckless crack addict, an HBO documentary humiliates his family as he is finally pinched for a number of drug related crimes.  As Dicky serves hard time, he longs to see his little brother succeed where Dicky did not, yet still manages to advise Mickey during prison visits.

With the help of Charlene and responsible trainers and managers, Mickey finally earns his shot at the World Welterweight Championship.  Dicky is impeccably released at the same time as he and the rest of the family pressure Mickey to take them back and share in his glory.

Instead of falling into a black hole with the rest of predictably formulaic boxing films, The Fighter shines by focusing on Mickey’s strained family ties.   While Christian Bale may very well execute his finest performance to date, Melissa Leo is also deserving in her performance as an erratic and demanding mother from hell.  You just can’t lose with The Fighter.  A second round knockout indeed!

The survey says…4.5 stars out of 5

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Categories: 100 Films

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