My friend Mike likes almost all sports–except boxing and car racing (which are the only sport I like). So I was pretty surprised when he called me and said he and Linda had just seen The Fighter and I should go see it too.
Gail and I saw it today, and Mike was right.
The Fighter tells the true story of Irish Micky Ward and his quest for a championship belt–but it is just as much about the story of his brother, Dick Eklund, himself a boxer, trying to overcome drug addiction.
Then there is their mother, Alice. A piece of work if ever there was one. With two sons and seven daughters, she rules everyone’s life like a tornado in a trailer park.
Dick is supposedly training Micky, but nothing is more important than his craving for crack. Momma Alice is managing the enterprise, and the seven sisters are a shrieking Greek chorus.
This situation can’t work, of course, and things fall apart. Micky takes on other management and training, Dick goes to prison and mom is furious. Micky is aided by the love of a new girlfriend, wonderfully portrayed by Amy Adams.
Of course, since this is a feel good movie, Dick gets clean in prison, the family reconciles and they all move forward to the championship fight.
Lisa Evans thinks Christian Bale is creepy, but his drug-wasted character is supposed to be creepy, so I guess he’s doing it right.
This is a really good movie–Ronn Owens on KGO radio says it is his favorite movie of the year. The acting is first rate, with Melissa Leo a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. I thought the big final fight was a little too reminiscent of Rocky, but I was cheering for the hero just the same.
Watching this, it’s difficult to remember that it is a true story–the characters are so broad, so Runyonesque, you don’t think that they could really exist. But I’ve watched Micky Ward in the ring, and he really is that tough and iron-willed, and capable of taking an astonishing amount of punishment and coming back to win.
Any sports movie that Mike and I both like must be good. Go see it.