“The Fighter” movie review
This ‘Fighter’ is a champ
As a young man growing up in Lowell, Mass., Micky Edwards (Mark Wahlberg) idolized his brother Dicky (Christian Bale), who was the first boxer to knock down future champ Sugar Ray Leonard. Now, Dicky is retired, and Micky awaits his shot at the big time, as a solid boxer himself. But Dicky’s problems with crack addiction and his family’s bickering are hampering Mickey’s chances.
When Micky starts to date Charlene (Amy Adams), she sees the potential in the warrior. But before he can succeed in the ring, he’s going to have to get his family out of his way.
Family matriarch Alice (Melissa Leo) is a strong character that obviously forged some of the strength in her sons. But her love for Dicky blinds her to some of his problems. She can’t see that Dicky is past his prime, and that his addictions are hampering his ability to train Micky.
As much as Dicky is a problem, however, Micky needs his insight. Dicky’s keen tactical brain, when he decides to use it, intuitively understands boxing. As important as family is in Lowell, Micky doesn’t want to cause a rift. But his association with Dicky may cost him his shot at the big time.
In the ring, Micky’s willing to take a lot of punishment to take his one good shot, and out of the ring, that’s the way he tends to work, as well. Micky absorbs a lot of punishment from family, police and critics as he waits for his stars to align. But with Charlene in his corner, he starts to take a more active role in his own destiny.
The film is full of great performances, and Bale could well be an Academy Award nominee for his role as Dicky. Even though Dicky repeatedly makes mistakes, his charm and geniality make him a character you want to root for, even when he doesn’t deserve it. Leo is aggressively entertaining as Alice, and Adams provides a side of her not seen before as tough-girl Charlene. The full portrait of working-class Massachusetts in the 1990s is as much of a part of the film as the world of high-stakes boxing.
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