I saw “The Fighter” a few weeks ago, and it was amazing. There are Oscar worthy performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo, and it has to be considered a strong contender for the Best Picture award.
The film tells the true story of two boxers from Lowell, Massachusetts: Dicky Eklund and his younger brother Micky Ward. Eklund (portrayed by Bale) was a promising fighter who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard… and never stopped telling people about it. Ward (played by Wahlberg) is his younger brother, a fighter in his own right who has a mediocre record and is stuck in his brother’s shadow.
The story opens with an HBO documentary crew following Eklund around, shooting footage for a documentary on his comeback. It ends up being a documentary on crack addiction, which airs after Eklund has ended up in jail.
One of the central conflicts in the movie is between Ward’s girlfriend (Adams) and his mother (Leo), who has served as manager for both of her sons. Adams’ character thinks that Mickey needs to break free from his dysfunctional family to have any real chance at success. The mother thinks she knows what’s best and sees the girlfriend as an interloper. There are two powerful scenes in the movie where the two women confront each other. One takes place in the living room, with Wahlberg and Adams sitting across a coffee table from Leo and seven angry sisters glaring at Adams from the couch. The other scene comes after the sisters pile in a car and show up on Adams front porch to confront her. These scenes are priceless.
The heart of the film is a story of redemption… two stories of redemption, actually, as both Ecklund and Ward overcome their weaknesses and achieve great success.