The Fighter is a biographical film based on the real life Micky Ward. It shows his return to the sport of boxing as he has to deal with his large eccentric Boston Irish Family. The less impressive Mark Walberg plays the lead Micky Ward, but you quickly realize the The Fighter is more about his family than himself. Either Mark Walberg is getting punched in the face in the ring, or he is sharing a scene with a much better actor that steals the spotlight from him. Christian Bale plays Micky’s brother Dicky, who is also a former boxer, but now a drug addict that gets into legal troubles. Early on in the film, Micky meets Amy Adams character, who becomes his girlfriend. Melissa Leo plays Alice, the mother of the very large family.
Even though Christian Bale is only consider a supporting actor, he easily eclipses Mark Walbergs weak performance. Seeing footage of the real Dicky, it is scary how accurate Christian Bale played him. The real life Dickys mannerisms are very unique with erratic movements and speech pattern, but Christian Bale mimics it to perfection. Christian Bale is nominated for Best Supporting Actor and will easily win it with a fight.
Melissa Leo was great as the mother and was nominated best supporting Actress. She acts as the head of the large family. Micky and Dicky have too many sisters to count. One sister is even played by Conan O Brian’s real life sister. Along with Melissa Leo, Amy Adams was also nominated for best supporting actress. The film was also nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing. I find it very humorous that every part of The Fighter was nominated besides Mark Walberg himself. It is also funny to think that both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were suppose to star in this film, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. In its current form, the large cast of crazy characters truly makes the movie.
The style of the film almost has a documentary feel all on its own. But inside the film itself, the first half has HBO doing a documentary on Dicky. Which they actually did air in the mid 80s called High On Crack Street. Just like how the film is not really about Mark Walberg, it is also not really about boxing. Like last years The Blind Side that rarely showed any actual football games, The Fighter shows only a few short boxing matches that are spread far apart throughout the film. So it would be wrong to dislike the film for thinking its a sports movie because it is more of a character piece about an interesting family. But the few boxing matches that are shown, they look amazing and real because they actually did hit each other and the end, the result was worth it.
This was one of the 10 Best Picture nominated films that I thought I was going to dislike. I am not a fan of sports and so a sports film sounds very unappealing. On top of that I am not a fan of Mark Walberg. After finally watching the film, I enjoyed it a lot because it was nothing that I expected. It was all about the interesting lives of a messed up family. A more aptly named title of the film would be Marky Mark and the funky bunch.
4 out of 5 stars