Tuesday, January, 25, 11

I Stand Corrected

Filed under: cinema — theradishpress @ 11:12 pm
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by theradishpress

A while back I had said that The Fighter looked like a made for TV movie. Sentimental dribble practically. And Amy Adams had yet to impress me. All this based on the trailer. Okay, the Amy Adams thought was based on her movies I had seen. Some time passed, some people I trusted saw it and enjoyed it. Spike Jonze called on people to see the film, not as a favor to David O. Russell, but as a friend and believer in its brilliance as a film (slashfilm). I had known that I would eventually see the movie, if not for anything other than Christian Bale.

I decided I did want to see this movie. Sunday I did. Bale did not disappoint. I could have watched him as Dicky Eklund for two straight hours and not grown tired. Melissa Leo amazed me as the overbearing and at times pathetic matriarch of a working class family grasping at fame and fortune. Mark Wahlberg, as my friend Rebecca pointed out, did no grand-standing or space taking. He clearly understood this film was not about him as Micky Ward, but about a family and a community. And Amy Adams, she proved me wrong. I was impressed with her subtle performance as Charlene. She was powerful and quietly the hero of the story. She helped guide Ward to his destiny.

Part of what really drew me into the story and the film is that abso-fucking-lutely everyone involved did a stellar performance. No single actor tried to take attention or inserted themselves over anyone else. It really came across as a collaborative effort. And it really came across is a dysfunctional functioning family. The Eklund/Ward sisters are maybe the best example of actors working together and taking cues from each other. They were believable. They were sincere. It was as if watching a single celled organism move fluidly across the screen. One of my favorite scenes was when Alice Ward and her daughters confront Micky and Charlene. One mass of family attacked a potential threat to their status quo. They act with the only prompt of defense.

Like the HBO special about the harm of crack addiction and its toll on Dicky, but that Dicky seems to sincerely believe is about his life as a boxer and will prompt a comeback, we the viewer learn that The Fighter is not about boxing. As the truth of the HBO special is revealed, the viewer is reminded that we too are not seeing what we may have thought. Before seeing the film I thought about the choice of title: The Fighter. It could easily be The Boxer, or some title with Ward’s name, but Ward is not the only fighter and this is not a boxing story. It is a story about community and choices and survival. I am happy Bale, Adams, and Leo have all been nominated, and as supporting cast. I don’t see any single lead. And it really is about time Bale won.



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