The first time I saw this Mickey Ward biopic I was in San Diego and it was Valentine’s Day 2011, we went to see it because we were bored, there was a cinema near by and we wanted to see the least romantic film possible as to avoid being surrounded by couples.
Well we weren’t surrounded by couples but it turned out we were wrong about the romance, The Fighter is a very romantic film in every sense of the word. It is a true underdog story that anyone with a soul will not be able to help but be swept away with, the obvious comparison to make would be Rocky…but I’m going to avoid drawing to many comparisons. I think this film is under rated, which is surprising considering it won supporting actor/actress Oscars for both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo and was nominated for about 5 more.
One of the best things about this film is how much Mark Wahlberg clearly cares about the subject and how much work he has put in to make it happen. It all shows in his performance which I think is the most under rated part of The Fighter. Wahlberg shows the strain that Mickey went through carrying the burden of his drug addict brother/trainer Dicky Ecklund (Bale) while putting up with his some what insane, short tempered, over bearing mother (Leo) and clan of intrusive sisters.
I think this is David O Russell’s best film yet, I am a huge fan of I Heart Huckabee’s and Three Kings, but this film connected with me in a way that those two couldn’t. My dad is a huge boxing fan (in fact in his younger days he was even an amateur boxer) and on Sunday mornings we would get up early and watch the fight that he recorded the night before. My favorite boxer, the one who’s fights I got excited about and couldn’t wait for was…Mickey Ward. So you see The Fighter had an unfair advantage from the word go, it had the nostalgia factor, a one way road back to my child hood and a happier simpler time. It’s one of the films in my DVD/Blue Ray collection that I know without doubt I will be getting it out to watch again a few more times over the next year. It doesn’t matter what sort of mood I’m in or what kind of day I had, I know that if I put this film on I can just sit back and enjoy.