Great Movies II

film 2 of 3

The Fighter

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 2, 2015

This is Rocky, which was the Chuck Wepner story, which is an optimistic take on the problems and possibilities of overcoming difficulty and making your dreams come true. Of course this Rocky is decidedly more naturalistic than the original. That is almost completely an advantage.

Not everyone will agree with this estimation. The prudish might beg off, and so too will many people who combine circumspection with reasonable openness. So that’s fine. Still, wouldn’t an actual Rocky Balboa talk this way, and see these things? And couldn’t, shouldn’t we? There’s a real sweetness in David O. Russell’s film, and it’s enhanced by the grittiness of its frame. Also by the directorial method, which lets things run, and actors act. The result is that there’s lots of plot, but also lots of time for digressions and grace notes too. That family! The sisters are a scream, but look at that step-dad. He is Long-Suffering, to a John Bunyan degree. The fact that they contrive a general reconciliation out of all this, and that they make that reconciliation plausible, is quite a feat. It’s nice that Marky Mark wins. It’s nicer that the Christian Bale (grandstander!) character reforms/conforms. Hope, without denying difficulty! This is why we have naturalism, after all. The parents of drug addicts will see and hear every bit of this. The friends of those parents, or of those drug addicts, should see and hear it too. The little improvised epilogue is very moving, and then to top that topper off we get the real-life brothers in an epilogue to the epilogue! Really lovely stuff.