Words by Naomi Jeffreys
‘The Fighter is a 2010 biographical sports drama film directed by David O. Russell, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. The film centers on the life of professional boxer “Irish” Micky Ward ( Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund ( Christian Bale). The film also stars Amy Adams as Micky’s love interest, and Melissa Leo as Micky’s and Dicky’s mother.
The film, which was released in 2010, it recieved 7 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. It is a multi-award winning film, and I can see why.
Perhaps because the film is based on reality, that Micky Ward is still alive, or that the film is gritty and it feels real. The pace of the film is relaxed, the audience is able to understand each character, their relationships, their faults and their traits. Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg depict such real brotherly affection, the loyalty and the anger that you can feel towards your family is shown brilliantly.
Each actor is clearly at the top of their game in this movie, with Bale exerting himself as the painfully thin Dicky (Micky’s brother), Melissa Leo as their controlling mother gives as good as she gets (she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and finally Amy Adams as the outsider, she portrays Micky’s tough barmaid girlfriend, who enters the fray of the Ward family and attempts to mend Mickey’s fragile career.
It is more than just a sports film, it has other genres entertwined within it, drama, love, documentary. And most importantly, it feels real. David O Russell filmed on location, in Lowell, Massachusetts, often filming in places where the real Micky Ward trained. He reportedly shot the fight scenes with cameras from that era, to define the ‘look’ as well as the feel of the real fight.
Even with a ‘Hollywood’ style ending, the director, David O Russell brings us back to reality, showing real life footage of both Micky and Dicky. Not only does this highlight the skill of the actors but it reminds us the strength of family ties and it’s importance in our life.
A must see.