Mark Wahlberg stars in Paramount Pictures’ inspirational docudrama exploring the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born, junior welterweight title winner “Irish” Micky Ward. A determined pugilist whose career in the ring was shepherded by his loyal half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale) — a hard-living boxer-turned-trainer whose own career in the ring was nearly sent down for the count due to drugs and crime — perennial underdog Irish Micky rebounded from a disheartening series of defeats to win both the WBU Intercontinental Lightweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title thanks to a fierce combination of determination and hard work. David O. Russell directs from a script by 8 Mile’s Scott Silver and Paul Attanasio (The Bourne Ultimatum).
“The Fighter” is a realistic drama with strong performances from all, particularly the lead three of Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, a talented boxer who is guided by his elder brother Dicky (Bale). Dicky came close to being a champion boxer but drugs and crime have derailed his life to the point where he is beginning to drag Micky down. When Micky hooks up with local bartender Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams) she forces him to look at the ways in which his family is dragging him down.
The film includes realistic looking boxing matches and its characterizations of Micky’s family are well developed which includes the mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), who wants Micky to always listen to her and who favors older brother Dicky, to the point of closing her eyes to his drug use. Micky’s loyalty to Dicky is commendable although he winds up having to make some difficult decisions.
The plot moves toward a showdown between Charlene and Alice and Dicky which leads to a fateful decision and a prize fight which will define Micky Ward in the world of welterweight boxing. This movie is based on a true story and although the story is powerful and the film drips with realism, there is a ton of strong language in it as well as drug use and we regrettably cannot award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal as a family-friendly film.