Rated R for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality
Movie Making: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Morality Rating: Average
The story of Micky Ward is one of the few "true stories" that Hollywood has deemed worthy of its
own movie that actually deserves it. I don't mean to bash those of you that love the countless films
that go for that warm-and-fuzzy life changing vibe, but at the same time, "The Fighter" is not such
a movie. Instead, we get the grit, the sweat, the tears and the pain that Ward, portrayed here
by Mark Wahlberg, felt as he fought for his rise to the top.
Directed by David O. Russell, "The Fighter" is straight up a darn good movie. Forgoing the
sweeping cinematogrophy and epic sound work that most of today's leading film-makers
love so much, Russell instead opts to throw us into the heart of Lowell, Massachusetts
where Ward grew up. There we come face to face with the drugs, language and sleaziness that
almost managed to bring him down. While Mark Wahlberg delivers a stunning performance as
Micky Ward, the real surprise in this film was Christian Bale as his half brother and fighting trainer
Dicky Eklund. The story of Eklund's addiction to drugs and the emotional upheaval that had on his
family was brilliantly told, leaving the audience literally aching at times for the family.
Bale is no stranger to taking on a role physically. He lost over 60 pounds to play a role in
"The Machinist" and almost immediately afterwards bulked up to play Bruce Wayne in
"Batman Begins". In "The Fighter" Bale is a shadow of himself, gaunt and haggard in the shoes
of Eklund. His northern accent is perfect and the way in which he interacts with Wahlberg
is endearing (as it should be) and well performed. . Eklund receives prison time for his drug
charges in the film, which is the catalyst for change as he recognizes the need for change
in his life. Simultaneously, Ward realizes that he can't let his family's failures bring him down
and decides to fight again, supported by his father and girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams).
Morally speaking, yes there were things in the movie that I personally wouldn't condone,
at the same time though they help us to relate and understand exactly what Micky Ward's
life was like. Language is fairly heavy, with the F bomb being spoken throughout the film.
Drug use is HEAVY in this film and some sexual material is implied between Ward and
Charlene. Because of these things, I wouldn't recommend this for any young audiences.
Even as an adult I found it hard to take in many of the things that "The Fighter" portrayed.
The darkness of addiction was great, but it made my heart swell all the more at the victory
that was won over it!
Conclusion: This awards season theaters are filled with the avant-garde (Black Swan),
the relevant (The Social Network) and the mind-bending (Inception). But out of all of
these, can we view them and then walk away and feel inspired? Can we experience
hope through the portrayal of one individual's struggles in life? Yes. That is why I
loved David O. Russell's "The Fighter" so very much. It was a representation of the
struggle inside us all, and a reminder that no matter what we face in life, it is worth
The REAL Bowman