Cinderella Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 17, 2011
Cinderella Man is yet another terrific Ron Howard film. Based on the life of James Braddock. The cast that Howard directs is incredible. Russell Crow deliver a great performance as struggling boxer James Braddock. Ron Howard has an eye for real life stories, and he definitely knows how to deliver a strong, powerful real life story on camera. Howard has got a great cast here, and they deliver strong performances. Renee Zellwegger delivers the second best performance of her career, and I think this film shows that she actually is able to act, and that she should pick more parts like this. This is a terrific film with a wonderful story. For me, it's hard to pick a favorite Ron Howard, almost all his films are great, with few that are awful. Cinderella Man is one of the best boxing movies since Raging Bull and is yet another solid work by director Ron Howard. The film has lots going for it, the film not only plays out as a terrific boxing drama, but the film evokes the troubles and the misery of the Great Depression very well. The story is engaging and the film is superbly directed. Cinderella Man is a well constructed, executed drama film and is one of Ron Howard's best films. If you enjoy boxing drama films, then you should check out Cinderella Man. A wonderful, well acted film that is a must see. Cinderella Man is one of the best boxing films that you can see.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2008
When America was on its knees, he brought us to our feet.

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.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2011
At first sight, Ron Howard's 'Cinderella Man' may seem like a better movie than it actually is. Not until after the credits role do you realize that you completely fell for Howards' techniques of dressing up the script and putting on a show. What Cinderella Man lacks in originality is made up for in pure entertainment. Russell Crowe drags a certain amount of depth into the character to make him a reliable protagonist, although a little uninteresting. An evocative story with good performances and great entertainment value. A strong contender in the challenging competition of boxing films.
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2011
Its not Rocky, but its pretty damn close! Russell Crowe is tremendous, along with Zellweger, but the true light goes on Giamatti for his incredible performance. Ron Howard is one of my favorite Directors and here he puts this Boxing movie up there with the greats.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2007
Boxing in the 1930's is no more interesting to me than boxing the way it is today. Yet, to my great pleasure and amazement, this was about so much more than just a guy throwing punches in the ring. I even liked it more than Rocky and The Fighter, which should be saying something of just how great it is. One of the things that makes it so gripping, is that Jim Braddock (played to perfection by Russell Crowe) doesn't just fight for the sake of his career; he fights to support his family and to put food on their table. And when a character does all that just to survive, it takes on a whole different meaning and becomes something that everyone can relate to. In the end, that's what separates this from other boxing movies. Here you feel every punch, become involved in every emotion and root for Braddock to make it out a winner. Ron Howard's film-making may be of very mixed quality, but this is one of the cases where he's pulled out all his aces and given us his very best. As can be said about the cast, who all do marvellous work in their respective roles. A true knock-out of a movie, with as much power in its drama, as there is in Braddock's right hand.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
A competently acted, well told old-school story concerning a boxer (Russell Crowe) who is forced back into the ring due to the Great Depression, and how his wife (Renee Zellwegger) and loyal manager (Paul Giamatti) keep him steady. Although it's obviously heavily derivative of other films (namely "Rocky" and "Seabiscuit", or the two combined together), it packs an undeniable punch thanks to a focused effort by director Ron Howard to make you feel something for these characters (something he has done exceptionally well with in the past, too). So, although there were instances that the film annoyed me (mostly due to cliches here and there), I couldn't deny that I really got into it, especially towards the end. The boxing scenes are incredibly shot, very visceral. Paul Giamatti shines brightest amongst all in a charismatic turn - definitely deserving of the Oscar nomination he received.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
I really liked this movie, and I want to give it a higher grade, but it doesn't quite deserve it. That's unfortunate too, The only things wrong with it (which keep it from being better) are that it's a bit too long, and a tad too draggy here and there.

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+.
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2010
Underappreciated gem confirm the strength of a Crowe/Howard partnership. Released on the wrong date and marketed poorly, this film should have a place alongside other boxing classics such as Raging Bull. Giamatti is strong; Zellweger is weak.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2006
One of the better Boxing films I have seen. Russell Crowe's is impressive.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2010
Much like "A Beautiful mind" Ron Howard drills his movie to the point of historic and personal perfection. All throughout the movie we see the emotional and physical lengths a husband/father will go to provide for his family at a time when that was an uncommon trait. Russell Crowe put his all in the character of Jim Braddock. Much like Braddock, Crowe was fighting for his name as well throughout his career and I think its very apparent throughout the movie, we really see Russell Crowe for the first time
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2010
Exhilerating 100% of the time! Never gets boring, and it can be enjoyed by all ages, but if your with a parent that is!
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2007
one of the most well acted films ever made, this is a touching sports masterpiece in an era where sports movies are all cliche and predictable. brilliant. i had to take off a full star because of the inaccurate and unfair treatment of max baer in the film, but other than this point this film is perfect. if ron howard hadnt directed it i can only assume that the people in the story would have been treated more fairly.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2009
A predictable, clichéd, formulaic story of one man?s struggle against adversity. Not usually my cup of tea, but I thought this was quite good! I have a lot of niggles with its direction and continuity but overall, it?s a good Ron Howard film.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2007
An absolutely magnificent film in every way. Director, Ron Howard creates another remarkable masterpiece. It's a powerfully enduring and inspiring film with big heart and lots of emotion. Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti give amazing performances. Crowe hits the mark with emotion, power and stellarnes of a real star power. Giamattie is electrifying. Zellweger is emotionally enduring. Rousing, triumphant and brillant. Outstanding and extroadinary. It's the best excuse to stand up and cheer sine the original Rocky.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2007
Jim Braddock: "You think you're telling me something? Like, what, boxing is dangerous, something like that? You don't think working triple shifts and at night on a scaffold isn't just as likely to get a man killed? What about all those guys who died last week living in cardboard shacks to save on rent money just to feed their family, 'cause guys like you have not quite figured out a way yet to make money off of watching that guy die? But in my profession - and it is my profession - I'm a little more fortunate."

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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2008
There's nothing quite like a boxing underdog feel good story. All washed up and nowhere to go it's time to get back in the ring. Unfortunately it also means it's time to gloss over such a feature with simplistic inaccuracies. I have nothing against using artistic license to spice up a "true story" but when it just boils it down to hero vs. villain then it strips a story of its power. Max Baer here is represented as a villainous bastard, when reports say he was a compassionate man who was badly shaken by the deaths of his opponents. I know it's much more simple for the makers and audience to cheer on one guy while booing the other, but I'd rather have a more complex battle take place. Aside from that the film is excellently handled. It perfectly represents the horrors of the depression and how Braddocks struggle was a beacon of hope for everybody. A bit too sentimental at times, dramatic music, slow motion, constant cheering etc. there is however a wonderful relationship between Crowe and Giamatti. Crowe is a star here, riffing off every cast member including the young actors that play his children. It's a great afternoon film and not knowing the true story made the ending ever so much of a surprise for me.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2007
The greatest boxing movie ever made.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2007
Crowe and Giamatti are great, but Zellwegger gets on my nerves.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2006
I think what's quite amazing is that this film is based on the true story of Jim Bradock, had it not have been based on the true story, I would have said that it was pretty predictable.

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
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2007
Beautiful movie! Made me cry.
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