The Fighter fought its way into the big time. I’ve seen many boxing movies, but The Fighter is just as much a family drama as it is a boxing drama. It’s based on real life Lowell, Massachusetts boxing brothers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund. Raging Bull director Martin Scorsese and The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky were both considered to direct, but the reigns ultimately went to David O. Russell. Since The Fighter is something of a comeback story, it made sense that this was his first film in over 6 years. The entire cast was dedicated to making the most realistic boxing movie they could.
Christian Bale pulled another one of his notorious body transformations by losing a lot of weight to play the crack addicted Dicky. The movie within a movie is an HBO documentary that depicted his drug use. Dicky’s struggles were enough to finally win Bale an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Mark Wahlberg is no slouch either convincingly getting into fighting shape and mimicking the real life Micky’s mannerisms. Being from Massachusetts himself, Wahlberg had a lot in common with the former boxer. His struggle was living in his brother’s shadow and not making it with him around.
The Fighter is a family affair with lots of personal drama revolving around Micky’s strained relationship with his controlling mother, meek father, and multitude of seven gossiping sisters. Melissa Leo was equally deserving of her Best Supporting Actress win. Amy Adams was only nominated for her hot-blooded portrayal of Micky’s eventual wife Charlene. Though I’m used to seeing her in “good girl” roles, Adams is just as profane as everyone else in the movie. The cast also includes Micky’s real life trainer Mickey O’Keefe and Sugar Ray Leonard. Matches are more realistic, but the outcome remains the same. The Fighter made Best Picture nominated boxing flicks cool again.