Other things may change us, but we start and end with family

I’m going to be real about this: I’m not sure why The Fighter is nominated. I realize that this was a bit of a down year, but what is it about this film that warrants Best Picture consideration? I think that having a ten film category to fill may have had something to do with it. Stop me if you think I’m harping on that too much.

Now I feel like I need to qualify the above paragraph. The Fighter is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. It’s well directed, well-acted and well written. It’s just that it’s only good, and to me a best picture nominee should be the total package.

The Fighter tells the story of “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his rise to fame in the eighties under the tutelage of his older brother, Dicky (Christian Bale), who is a failed former boxer and current crack addict. One of those problems has everything to do with the other, although I’m not certain in which order.

Micky spends most of his time waiting around for others, it seems, and this is fundamentally my complaint about the film. Micky is the lead character, yet he dictates nothing. Dicky is always smoking crack (as crack addicts are wont to do) and therefore never shows up for Micky’s training sessions. So Micky waits. His mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), is his manager. He fights when and who she books. So Micky waits. Eventually, he meets a smart (-er than her peers) bar maid named Charlene (Amy Adams, whom I’m not ashamed to admit I have an enormous crush on). She seems to take a real interest in Micky. You start to think he might grow a pair. But no, in the end it is Charlene who stands up to his domineering mother and good-for-nothing brother. Micky Ward is apparently the most passive boxer ever.

So, what about the good? Well, as I mentioned the film is very well directed, despite the boxing scenes leaving a bit to be desired. It has a great, authentic vibe, complete with a little Altman-esque overlapping dialog, and a fantastic performance by Christian Bale. I was entertained all the way through, but in the end, it just didn’t leave enough of an impression.

As I write this I realize that I am officially more than halfway through the best picture nominees! Good on me. The end is in sight! And speaking of the end, that’s another instance where Micky slips into the background, the film’s ending. Despite all that happens to him his life continues to be dictated by his family, for better or worse.

The Fighter is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor is a Supporting Role (Christian Bale), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Amy Adams), Best Directing & Best Film Editing

2 Responses to “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family”
  1. Adam says:

    I wasn’t too interested in this one but I checked it out and I loved it. Watched it twice. Like you mentioned, everything is just very well done. I still have “The King’s Speech” and “127 hours” left to see out of the nominees but right now my feeling is that it’s a toss-up between “The Social Network” and “The Fighter” (with Social Network probably getting the edge).

    • Kevin Mattison says:

      I feel like it’s a good movie, but not a great one. It’s carried by it’s director and supporting cast. I don’t think the script is great and Walhberg is far too passive (Both an acting flaw and an inherent flaw in the script).

      I have yet to see “127 Hours”, “Toy Story 3”, “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Social Network”, but the last two are sitting at home as we speak. So far I’ve gotta say I think “The King’s Speech” has it on lock down, with “The Social Network” being it’s only real competition. It’s a great film, but more specifically it’s exactly the kind of film I feel like the Academy gravitates towards.

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