The Fighter (2010) Review

The Fighter

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As a Massachusetts native, movies based in Boston are my bread-and-butter. Give me an Afflack/Damon/Wahlberg movie, and I will rewatch it into oblivion. The Fighter carries a special place in my heart, as it takes place in Lowell, Mass. — the birthplace of my father. This David O. Russell film depicts the rise — and fall — of Micky Ward and Dicky Ecklund, boxers from Lowell, looking to make a name for themselves on the world boxing circuit. Amidst the matches and drama which comes with portraying a Boston-adjacent Irish family, the movie aims to tackle a difficult chapter of drug addiction in Massachusetts.

The movie kicks off with Dicky (Christian Bale) reminiscing on his time as a professional boxer. “The Pride of Lowell” as he is eloquently known, rose to regional fame after going the distance in a match against Sugar Ray Leonard. A lot of the flick is following Dicky around for what he calls his “comeback story”, as a movie crew films him for an undisclosed documentary. Eklund battling a crack-cocaine addiction, despite repeatedly saying he is making a “comeback.” 

While the movie is truly following Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his professional boxing career, he always seems to be living in the shadow of his older brother as his mother (Melissa Leo) and sisters worship the ground Dicky walks on. Micky had been embarrassed in past fights, but feels this time it will be different because he expects to win handedly. He shares this information with everyone from his daughter, to an attractive bartender named Charlene (Amy Adams). I’m sure you can guess how that pans out … the movie ultimately ends on a happy note, as Micky finds success in the boxing world, but there are twists, turns and fights along the way.

This movie won two Academy awards for best supporting actor/actress, showing just how well rounded this star-studded movie was. Bale and Leo (Alice Ward) were both given their first Academy wins with this movie. The movie goes deeper than just winning awards, as it entices a range of emotions for the viewers. As with many sports movies, the character arc of the main character is a bit predictable … what begins with optimism, quickly turns to pessimism before beginning his redemption tour. 

Without giving away too much, I’d like to share some personal favorite aspects of the movie…

And the Award Goes to…

Favorite Scenes: Literally any scene where Charlene (Adams) is around Micky’s family — particularly Alice or sisters who have a clear disdain towards the bartender turned beau.

Insult of the Movie: As with all Boston movies, The Fighter is no stranger to curses or insults however I heard a new one in this movie. “MTV Girl” is frequently hurled at Charlene and we come to find out it is a euphemism for ‘skank’.

Scene I’d Rewatch 15 Times: Micky’s comeback. Although this is no “Rocky” montage, Wahlberg holds his own. The rudimentary physical training is absolute comedy, but mix in the Red Hot Chili Peppers soundtrack — I’m there.

You’ll find yourself laughing at Dicky’s antics, rooting for Charlene versus the Ward sisters, and riding the emotions through Micky’s boxing career through the duration of the movie. This movie is currently available on Netflix, if you’re looking for a good summertime watch — check it out.


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