Synopsis: The story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and the brother who trained him during his early career.
Release Date: December 10, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Biography
“Irish” Micky Ward is a boxer almost passed his prime. Considered most of his career as a stepping stone he is not title fight material, or so we are led believe. Based upon the true story of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), The Fighter chronicles the tumultuous relationship between the brothers while intermingling Micky’s desire to make one last go at his boxing dreams.
Although Micky is the main character of the film much of the plot revolves around his brother Dickie as they are an inseparable pair in each other’s lives. Dickie is considered the “pride of Lowell” — the town where both men grew up and still live. He was a gifted fighter and could have been great had he not succumbed to drug addiction at a young age. Spending the latter years of his young life training his brother Micky he thrives off of the respect the town gives him even as they witness time and time again his addiction take control of his entire life. Micky is quite the opposite of Dickie. A caring father and hard-worker he has spent his life trying to prove that he is worth something and break out of his brother’s shadow. Their relationship on both a personal and professional level is littered with pain and resentment but also unconditional love. When Micky has the opportunity to finally make a real career for himself with boxing he must choose between his brother, and toxic family, or success. For a man who is incredibly tied to his familial ties it is the most difficult of decisions. Fortunately for the viewer it results in a film full of dramatic crescendos and surprising humor.
One might expect The Fighter to be a very serious from start to finish. It has many serious notes and Director David O. Russell manages them precisely with a smart, succinct script. What he also manages to do is keep the mood light, engage the audience in laughter continuously, but never lose sight of the considerable depth to the story. Much of this can be attributed to the very defined character personalities and how we get to experience all of their differences meld together. If what the character’s do or say does not make you laugh then there is always the aqua net devotee band of sisters to gawk at on screen. One thing is for certain, you will be rooting for Micky, and for Dickie, to make good of their lives. This is a film that is sad and full of desperation but also uplifting, seeping with hope and prosperity. An added bonus…in the end you get a crowd pleasing display in the ring that would make Rocky Balboa proud.
It would be wrong to single out just one performance in this film because each and every actor has delivered a character-perfect one. Mark Wahlberg impresses as Micky Ward with his self-esteem issues, forgivable nature, and fortitude to overcome the skepticism surrounding his career as a boxer. Plus he is fantastic when he takes to the ring as well. Amy Adams (Charlene) proves her talents when going up against the venomous Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), Micky and Dickie’s mother. Leo’s Alice is a woman any sane person would avoid but Adams’ Charlene gives back the same or better when dealing with her; as well as the seven sister’s of Micky’s who are destined to take over their mother’s throne as Queen Shrew. The wordplay mingled with the snide glances by these two woman and being impressed is not an option but a requirement.
There is one character left in this band of excellence, that of Christian Bale as Dickie Eklund. Dickie is considered a supporting character but in my mind he is just as important and focal as Micky himself. Meeting Dickie is similar to being surprised from behind by someone as he catches you completely off guard without any effort. Dickie is not someone you want to like but he is extremely likable and his antics hilarious. Jumping out a second floor window into a dumpster to avoid his mother at the front door…just another typical day for Dickie. Fueled by his drug addiction and blind to the fact that his career is long over Dickie allows a documentary team from HBO to document his current life and return to the ring. This is the core problem with Dickie, and what Bale manages to pull of amazingly, he has no idea just how much of a mess he has become. He walks down the street the most jovial man in town with his rotting teeth, malnourished body, ill-fitting clothes, and nervous twitches. When getting his fix he allows himself to be filmed candidly. He disappoints his brother time and again both personally and professionally but cannot comprehend what he has done wrong. To call Dickie troubled would be an easy statement. To say he needs serious help a factual one. What Bale does with Dickie is not provoke sympathy from the viewer but instead buries him deep inside of you to where you too are blinded by the charismatic and talented man Dickie is, and almost forget all of the negativity he brings with him into people’s lives. The drug abuse is centered upon for most of the film as it is what Dickie must overcome in order to regain his place at Micky’s side but the darkness never overtakes Dickie nor do you ever dislike him for his faults. Bale is not at a point in his career where he has to prove his talent but this performance will either help you remember just how incredible he can be on screen or introduce you to an actor that does more than merely act, he sets the bar.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): David O. RussellRyan KavanaughTodd Lieberman
- Producer(s): Paul TamasyMark WahlbergScott SilverPaul TamasyEric Johnson
- Screenwriter(s): Mark Wahlberg (Micky Ward)Christian Bale (Dicky Eklund)Amy Adams (Charlene Fleming)
- Story: Melissa Leo (Alice Ward)
- Cast: Pamela MartinHoyte Van HoytemaJudy Becker
- Cinematographer: Michael Brook
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA