Fighter, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +4

Content: -4

Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams. Boxing biopic. Directed by David O. Russell.

FILM SYNOPSIS: This is the life story of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward and his trainer brother Dick Eklund, chronicling the brothers' early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Massachusetts, through Eklund's battle with drugs, and Ward's eventual world championship in London.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Put simply, itís the best boxing film since Requiem For A Heavyweight. A love story between two brothers, the film shows the importance of family and its main theme is redemption. The relationships are moving, the boxing sequences (no stand-ins used) are intense, magnetizing and metaphoric.

Solid performances all around, but Iíd like to spotlight Amy Adams. I did a bit of acting in my youth (just after Dillinger was caught) and what always impresses me is when you can read not just an actorís face, but his or her eyes. I admired Kevin Kline in The Emperorís Club for that reason, where writer and director allowed the actor to speak volumes with just a look. As the saying goes, the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, Mr. Kline let us see in, somehow reflecting out, helping us to understand our own behavior. Ms. Adams does the same in The Fighter. Sheís not just cute (Julie & Julia) with star quality (Enchanted); here she proves sheís also an actor of great depth and comprehension. Other performers will garner the Oscar spotlight for more bombastic deliveries this year, but Ms. Adams gives the best supporting performance of the year in this former actorís opinion.

Mr. Wahlberg also deserves some limelight. Iíve never been a big fan. I am now. Heís proved his love of movies by producing The Fighter with great sensitivity and skill. He allows his cast to shine, giving them their moments, rather than always taking center stage. Whatís more, the former Marky Mark is both an impressive movie star and thespian.

But before you rush out to see The Fighter, take the R-rating seriously. The crude and offensive language is bountiful, each and every character frequently using the f-word to begin and end a thought. There is also some sexuality, including a couple of very sensual scenes, and the boxing scenes, though not as excessive as many a fight film, are nonetheless intense and in your face.

DVD Alternatives: Requiem For A Heavyweight and Rocky.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Paramount Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several crude sexual remarks

Obscene Language: Over 100 uses of the f-word, alone, followed closely by the s-word.

Profanity: I caught two profanes uses of Godís name and ten of Christís name; the expression ďOh my GodĒ is uttered frequently.

Violence: The boxing sequences are more intense than viscerally jolting, but make no mistake, the sport and its depiction is violent in nature; several women threaten the female lead and she fights back; the scene is not overly violent, played more for laughs. Blood: Some blood during and after the fight sequences.

Sex: It is implied that the lead couple sleep together and there are a couple of sensual scenes.

Nudity: No nudity, but the Amy Adams character dresses provocatively in several scenes.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Smoking by several characters and social drinking by all; drug use is depicted, but not glorified Ė rather showing the destructiveness of the addiction.

Other: None

Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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