THE FIGHTER (2010)
THE FIGHTER follows Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), who became a pro boxing champ in 2000. Itâ€™s about tragedy to triumph, boy meets girl, and everyone speaking with funny accents (but thereâ€™s no need to use the DVDâ€™s subtitle option).
Itâ€™s a film thatâ€™s been there (like RAGING BULL, a â€œtrueâ€ story) and done that (like ROCKY, the ignored bum). No real surprises.
Except for a huge Oscar-winning surprise. Christian Bale created a character (Wardâ€™s brother Dicky) that clings to old dreams and always babbles about new plans. You know people like Dicky. Mostly, you wish theyâ€™d leave, but then they do something graceful and generous and you canâ€™t imagine life without them. Whether Baleâ€™s Dicky hunkered in the background or silently reacted to another character, I couldnâ€™t stop watching him. He deserved his Best Supporting Actor award. Melissa Leo, playing Micky and Dickyâ€™s mother, also won her supporting category. (I wouldâ€™ve voted for Amy Adams as Mickyâ€™s worn down, but fiercely independent girlfriend.)
If you donâ€™t care for fight films, get in â€œthe ringâ€ anyway. The Wards will drive you nuts, but the film provides 115 minutes of flawed people struggling to realize dreams along an honest, entertaining path.
Questions you are invited to use or ignore:
A question Iâ€™d ask you over a cup of coffee: Who has been a Dicky in your life . . . where did he or she really make a positive difference for you?
A question Iâ€™d ask to get a church group talking: what dream have you had where your persistence/faith did pay off?