Cinderella Man Reviews
Saw it again! Perfect movie, no flaws whatsoever. Undoubtedly one or the best sports and boxing movies of all time. To me Russel Crowe on his best performance ever as an actor. Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti did a fantastic job too. The story is like no other, deeply touching and emotional. It touches you in ways only a movie can.
Indeed, the characters and the story were the strong points of "Cinderella Man." Much credit should go to Cliff Hollingsworth for a screenplay that included thoughtful dialogue, humor, and multi-dimensional characters. Daniel Orlandi also merits praise for the brilliant costumes that helped to recreate the period of the early 1930s.
But the heart of this film experience is Russell Crowe's screen portrayal of Braddock. It was the colorful sportswriter and raconteur Damon Runyan who coined the nickname of "Cinderella Man" for Braddock. However, the real James J. Braddock was more than lucky. It was his strength of character in and out of the ring that captivated America. One of the most moving scenes of the film was a heated argument between Braddock and his wife Mae where Braddock insists that even in the most difficult of times, he would refuse to be separated from his children. As a boxer, he was fearless. But he demonstrated even more courage in fighting for family values a lesson from which we can learn a great deal today in reflecting on this sensitive film.
The story takes place in New York and New Jersey during the Great Depression, a time when people experienced the worst economic hardship in U.S. history. James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) was a light heavyweight boxer, who was forced to retired from the ring after breaking his hand in his last fight. His wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) had prayed for years that he would quit boxing, before becoming permanently injured. To support his family, Braddock works as a laborer at the docks, but he still has a dream to box. Several years after his last fight, Braddock's old manager wants him to be a last-minute substitute to fight against the second-ranked world contender. In this case, Braddock is one of those hungry fighters who astonishes everyone by winning the fight. Braddock is back in the ring and begins to win all his fights against younger, stronger, and heavier boxers. In a sports article, Braddock is named the "Cinderella Man" for his miraculous comeback. Braddock gets a chance to fight the heavyweight champion, Max Baer (Craig Bierko), for the title. Max Baer had killed two men in the ring, and everybody believed Braddock would be number three. As the underdog, Braddock became the champion of the downtrodden masses.
Other than that, this is a well-made, inspiring story of perseverence, hope, and doing what one can to get through hard times. Calling this a Great Depression-era Rocky is not wrong, but it cheapens things. YEs, the general plot is nothing new, but what sets this film apart is that it's a biopic. Not only that, it's rooted in history, and is actually quite accurate in it's portrayal of the times.
This is a gorgeous looking film, and the set design, costumes, and art direction are amazing. They really nailed the look and feel of the time period. The camera work and editing are decent, but as far as boxing films go, Raging Bull is still the best in these two departments.
I've noticed that Howard has made several period pieces throughout his career. He's pretty good at them, He's also good at rawing on people's emotions to tell a good story. The acting is probably (next to bringing the period to life) the best thing going on here. Crowe once again delivers an excellent and believable performance. Zelwegger is pretty decent despite the type of character she's playing (which kind of limits things). She is good though, and she also does frumpy and mousy quite well, Giamatti is damn amazing. He got snubbed for Sideways, and this film looked like he'd get an awartd to make up for that, but he got snubbed here, too. That's unfortunate, because he's one of the best and most consistent actors working these days- I love him.
THis is some good stuff. LIke I said at the beginning, this film should be great, but slightly falters and ends up being mere really good. It's still definitely worth seeing though. Very high B+.
In the 1920s, James Braddock (Russell Crowe) from Bergen, NJ, was a promising contender in professional boxing; he had strength, spirit, and tenacity, but the combination of a serious hand injury and a 1929 defeat in a bout with light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a serious tailspin. As Braddock's career in the ring dried up, the Great Depression put a stake through the heart of America's economy, and Braddock found himself working at the New York docks for pitiful wages as he tried to support his wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), and three children. Desperate for money, Braddock turned to his former trainer and manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti), who was unexpectedly able to scare up a bout for him, battling John Griffin at Madison Square Garden. While conventional wisdom had it that Braddock was too old, out of shape, and out of practice to have any chance of winning, he defeated Griffin, and continued beating his opponents with a powerful left hook that had been intensified by years of punishing dock work. In a nation desperate for good news, Braddock's surprising comeback became a tonic to struggling workers and unemployed people, and all eyes were on Braddock when in 1935 he took on powerful heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko) in what was both literally and figuratively the fight of his life.
This is brilliant movie - Not since Raging Bull has there been a film that takes you on a an emotionally charged roller coaster as this one. It demonstrates the human spirit and determination of a man who endures physical and mental hardship to become one of the greatest fighters. This a gem of a movie and easily rates alongside Raging Bull with fight scenes that make you wince. The other stars are equally superb and how this film missed out on Oscars I have no idea it is criminal that it was overlooked and more criminal if you miss a piece of movie brilliance. You will definitely not be disappointed it was like watching the rags and riches story of Rocky only it is a true story and the acting is top drawer. Russell Crowe does the character of Jim Braddock great credit and Ron Howard does a great job in making you feel that you were there with the hardships of the depression and the feeling of hope and this film fills you with every kind of emotion from start to finish - it is simply a gem.
What I do like most about this film is that it highlighted extremely well the povertypeople experienced during the The Great Depression.
Great role played by Russell Crow, of course it certainly helps if you have an interest in boxing and even Rene Zellwegger didn't do a bad job in this, even though I'm not a huge fan of her.
A very enjoyable, (if not a little drawn out) story.
VERDICT: I'm sure most would enjoy