Give it a try if… You are not ashamed of crying and laughing at the same time.
Steer clear if… You don’t like being caught off-guard.
I must have been one of the last moviegoers on the planet to see “The Fighter”. The acclaiming reviews and some friends’ heartfelt recommendations made me keep it in store for quite a while, waiting for the perfect chance. It finally came on a chilly night among the French Alps – which felt so warm for a while, I almost ran out to perform a midsummer dance in the snow.
You Had Me at Hello
I needed less than 60 seconds to fall in love with this movie. In the first sequence, up-and-coming boxing star Micky Ward strolls around his neighbourhood with his brother, former star of the ring and current crackhead Dickie; it is a swift, perky feast for the eyes and the heart, and a clever way to disclose the essence of the story before it even begins.
The lightness of touch in dealing with sensitive issues (from drug addiction to family upheavals to the harsh reality of boxing) might just be the greatest virtue of “The Fighter”. The people who worked on this film – a clear collective triumph – are well aware that the deepest things in life reveal themselves indirectly, through unexpected swerves and unconscious gestures, rather than upstaging dramalogues of the Hollywood kind. That is why seeing life tap-dance its way through this (true!) story was both so refreshing and revealing.
The Superpower to Move
Talking of virtues, the acting in this movie is outstanding. While Mark Wahlberg may deserve a bit less praise for his actual performance than for his crucial commitment to bringing this project to life, and Amy Adams, though delightful as usual, still has some work to do to shake off the last few clichés from her creative palette, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (both awarded an Oscar for their “supporting” role) are a real pleasure to watch. Bale in particular is unforgettable – he is such a wizard that you can see him totally disappear into his character, and at the same time perceive the fun he is having while acting. His selfless performance is a work of art in itself, and one more reason not to miss this flick.
UPS score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 9/10 + wow!