Movies We Like
Directed by Oscar nominated director David O. Russell, The Fighter tells the true story of Micky Ward's (Mark Wahlberg) rise to fame from a "stepping stone fighter" to WBU Light Welterweight Champion, and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), Ward's half brother. Known as the Pride of Lowell, Eklund rose to stardom for knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard on July 18, 1978 (where Eklund claimed it was a knock down, Leonard claimed he tripped). Unfortunately for Eklund, that was his crowning achievement. Subsequently, after having a fairly average career post Sugar Ray Leonard, Eklund turned to a life of drugs and reckless abandon. Despite Eklund's lifestyle, he trained Ward who eventually became a great welterweight contender.
Traversing between Ward's struggles with his family life as well as his professional career as a boxer, Russell successfully pulls off a "feel good film" without hitting the audience over the head with tactics that have commonly been employed when making a film belonging to the “boxing film” sub-genre. Illustrating the juxtaposition of loyalty and carving a path to a brighter future, Wahlberg doesn’t miss a beat as the title character. Mixing humor, drama, and a gritty aesthetic, The Fighter gains the championship title over films like Rocky, Cinderella Man, et al.
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo both won Oscars for their roles in The Fighter and deservedly so. Leo turns in a tour-de-force performance as Alice Ward, Micky’s mother and manager. Christian Bale nails his role as a former boxer turned crack addict. (See here for the HBO special featuring the real life Dicky Eklund as seen throughout the film). No matter your taste in cinema, especially in times like these, The Fighter has something to offer everyone.
The Fighter won two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo). It was nominated for an additional five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay.