The title says it all about director David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” a biopic about the comeback and rise to fame of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward.
Although, it could have just have easily been called “The Fighters.” While the story centers around Micky, it’s also about family. A family who eats, sleeps and breathes boxing, and they are all fighting for something.
Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) promising career comes to a screeching halt after a string of bad matches, culminating in a knockout to an opponent who outweighs him by 20 lbs.
In Ward’s corner are his misguided mother/manager Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) and his addict half-brother/trainer Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale).
Ecklund lives under the delusion that his own boxing career is about to see a comeback, and his mother more than encourages him. Both play an equal role in sidelining Micky’s career.
When Ecklund’s destructive behavior goes too far and winds him up in jail, Micky’s bartending girlfriend Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), father George Ward (Jack McGee) and local police sergeant Mickey O’Keefe (himself) intervene, and convince Micky to cut their influence from the boxing ring at least.
And from there, well, you can probably guess. It’s a story about a blue-collar family, and their own rising star.
Mark Wahlberg’s strong and steady performance as Ward brings this cast together in the same way that Ward bonds his dysfunctional family together.
His quiet, calming influence helps balance out the dynamic, stirring and sometimes crazy performances by Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.
Both manage to make you love, hate and empathize with their characters at the same time.
Rounding out the cast, Amy Adams easily sheds her Disney princess type-cast stigma, as the college educated, big-mouthed girlfriend with a nasty right hook.
The story may be predictable at times, but it’s real and inspiring. We’ve heard the “rags to riches” story a thousand times, but when it’s done with this kind of heart we can stand to hear it a thousand more.
…just for fun: