The Fighter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fighter Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 15, 2010
It is always a pleasure to see a sincere drama that doesn't give in to cheap clichés or easy melodrama but is instead a compelling film that simply relies on the power of a true story and the strength of an ensemble cast that is altogether perfect.
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2010
A dysfunctional family both supports and cripples their son's aspiring boxing career. While Wahlberg as the fighter is more or less the obvious choice it's Bale as his drug-using coach and brother who steals every scene and delivers an outstanding (and Oscar-awarded) performance. Same goes for Melissa Leo as their mother. The film works best in the moments that feel very real and often have a great, realistic sense of humor. Only the last act follows the traditional sports drama path a bit too predictably. Overall the result is still highly entertaining and engaging, mostly thanks to the good writing and the stellar performances.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2010
the thing about boxing movies is that they're boxing movies, it's hard to get out of the rut, yah? rich performances by all concerned in this take, wherein "the fighter"'s biggest fight is with his derelict family: ma (leo, superb as the mom you love to hate to love) dotes on the oldest boy (bale, unrecognisable as a smooth talkin' crackhead hasbeen), rags on the not strong enough current dad (mcgee, honorably in honorless shoes) while supporting a den of useless greek chorus sisters. how to get ahead then? how about listening to nearly faded small town jewel (adams, shimmering)? cliches, yes, american cliches, played out from sea to shining sea every day, transcended here by powerhouse performances, making this a worthy addition into the wealth of american as apple pie boxing movies.
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2010
It's so hard to make a boxing film that really stands out anymore, so thankfully, this one didn't really try and did something I respect even more: it's just a damn solid, well-made, and very entertaining film, the occasional predictable moments or cliches aside.

If I had to pick something about it (besides the above) that does set it apart, it is the acting, but you probably may have that one figured out (unless you ignore reviews, the Oscars, or internet message boards). The odd thing here though, is that, even though this is about (part of) the story of Micky Ward, the supporting characters (especially Dicky), are such scene stealers and far more memorable, that you'd think the movie is really about them.

In a way, this is true. It's mostly about Micky, but more about the role of those aroudn Micky, and how they shape and affect his life, especially his crackhead brother Dicky, trashy, overbearing, selfish mother Alice, and his seven equally trashy sisters. Besides being an underdog story, this film shows the bond of family (no matter how messed up), as well as the effects of being washed up and addicted to drugs.

This is a story that could have been told all kinds of ways, and in David O. Russell's hands, it plays essentially like a docudrama. In fact, some of this is so well done and convincing that it seems closer to truth than fiction. It probably helps that locals are used to play themselves or people they know, and that this was all shot on location. Lowell, as shown here, is not really a place I wanna see anytime soon.

As I said already, the acting is great, Wahlberg is actually the most low-key and toned down. Maybe that's a good thing. It makes the character less interesting, but everyone else is so over the top and showy that we need a more subtle performance to anchor things. Leo and Bale are tremendous, and their Oscars were well deserved, but they may have laid it on just a tad too thick. Adams is also great, especially since she lays against type, and succeeds.

There's not a whole lot new here, but this is a really hard film to dislike, It's pretty solid, but not air tight. They could have made Ward a bit more interesting, and maybe included his trilogy of fights with Gatti, but apparently they are planning a sequel that will focus solely on just that, so there you go. This is very real, but maybe too real, too painful to watch at times. That's not to say that it's unwatchable though, because I certainly was never bored, and always found at least one thing to enjoy frame by frame.

Go check this out. I give it a B+
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Bale gives an excellent performance. A strong film.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2012
A dramatic story drenched in pure humanity and a fighting struggle for balance. The Fighter is that rare boxing-drama film that executes especially with its one-two knockout punch in the main stars (Mark Wahlberg & Christian Bale). 4/5
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2012
Talk about films that really create a mood, this one does just that.
Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg star in this true story of an injured, crack addict ex-boxer who wants and needs to live vicariously through his younger brother by getting him to fight professionally. And he turns out to be good at it which in ways must bother Dickie(Bale) as much as he is proud to still be involved with that world.
I found the fights to be more realistic in this as opposed to what we're used to seeing in films because there is certainly nothing sophisticated about two individuals beating the hell out of each other. Sure there is technique involved, but that's what's going on when it all comes down to it.
Bale's performance is top notch; and he has come to my attention as one of the better under 40 actors working in the business at this time.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2012
Christian Bale 100% deserves the Oscar for this performance! Everyone else in this movie really is just in the shadow of Bale's best performance. But with that said they still do a great job with their part.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2012
Although I haven't watch many boxing related films, 'The Fighter' was my first one. Because of the strength of characters from Mark Walberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, it gripped me throughout. Personally, Bale is the real focus, who gives a portrayal of a drug addict, who is the only decent coach for Walberg's character.
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2010
"The Fighter" is a harrowing story about a very dysfunctional family; it seems like the only one that thinks correctly within that family is the main character, played by Mark Wahlberg, Micky Ward, but it isn't the story about Micky Ward that we are invested in. Don't get me wrong, the story is about Micky Ward but his story is not as captivating as his brother's, Dicky Ward. What a performance by Christian Bale. It wasn't Mark Wahlberg's lack of a true convincing performance that he wasn't able to make his character relatable -- I am led to believe that that is the character that he was playing as. Incredibly entertaining. The cinematography in certain portions of the movie was gorgeous. I appreciated the "ESPN-esque" viewing we have of the fights that witness. One of the biggest problems I've had about this movie is how there isn't a lot of substance passed the dramatic plot. "The Fighter"'s a great movie, but doesn't do anything inventive or surprising.
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2010
I enjoyed this one, but not nearly as much as I was led to believe I would by the previews and the magazine reviews I read prior. I think Christian Bale does a great job acting in this one, but there wasn't enough action for my tastes, and it was rather predictable. Still worth watching though, just overrated.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2012
The Fighter re-teams Mark Wahlberg with director David O. Russell, as well as Mark with Christan Bale. This is another in the long list of boxing movies that aren't really about the boxing. They're more about the characters and what they're going through rather than the sport itself. Christian Bale steals the show with his performance, but only in the first half. The one thing I've always said about Bale was that his personality oozes through his performances, and so it's never really the character he's playing but him instead. This isn't the case in the first half of the movie. After his character goes through a rough patch, he goes back to being Bale again. It works for the roles he chooses, but I can always sense it. Mark Wahlberg gives a good performance, but its very small compared to his co-star's. It's odd that the movie is about a boxer, but Bale's performance overshadows the main protagonist and confuses you as an audience member. Fortunately, it works in this case. The story itself is a little different than your average boxing true story. It's generally intense, and you get very caught up in it, so I don't have much to complain about with it in that department. It's a gripping film, but not really one I'd want to see over and over again.
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2011
This movie is called "The Fighter". You would think it is about a boxer, and sure enough, Mark Wahlberg is cast as a boxer who has lost a few fights. But "The Fighter" may also be Christian Bale who is cast as a washed-up boxer who has fallen on hard times and is now a crack cocaine addict and a lousy trainer.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2010
The Fighter was the one movie that I knew I had to see in 2010. My two favorite actors are Amy Adams and Christian Bale, so I knew I had to see this film to see them together. As the release date came closer, and as more and more Oscar buzz flowed, I knew this was going to be a great one. It is. This film is easily among the 5 best films of the year, if not the best.

The best part of this film is the acting. Unbelievable! The three main supporting cast members give some of the best performances I have ever seen. They have to go down as one strongest supporting casts ever. I believe Christian Bale will finally receive his long overdue Oscar. His performance is simply incredible. He completely takes ownership of the role and simply disappears entirely into the character. His character changes so much throughout the film and no better actor could have delivered as affectively. I also loved Melissa Leo's performance. Absolutely stunning! She is so real and believable as the tough mother. Her performance is truly remarkable. I believe Melissa Leo will win the Oscar for best supporting actress, but it was Amy Adams that completely made this film for me. Her performance is phenomenal! She completely steals every scene. She flawlessly portrays the quiet but tough Charlene. This film shows Amy Adams at her best. She, too, will receive an Oscar nomination, hopefully the win. Also, her performance really allows Mark Wahlberg to shine as well. He gives a good performance, but the entire film is dominated by stellar supporting actors.

A thing that surprised me was the screenplay. The script is simply fantastic. It is so real, strong, and genuinely portrays what the people of the area and time would have been like. The script also has many humorous moments that were surprising, but absolutely perfect.

The Fighter is so much more than a typical sports or boxing film. It focuses more on relationships, family, and conflicts as opposed to the boxing.

I have to mention the final fight scene.....brilliant. The perfect ending to a great movie. After being blessed with the first 90 minutes of the film, we are treated by an awesome final boxing scene. Loved it!

Nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, this is a brilliant film. Far better than Rocky and Raging Bull will ever be. This deserved every amount of praise it received. Props to Mark Wahlberg for pushing to create this film!

Absolutely loved it. One of my favorites!
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2011
This film deserves every possible award out there. I went to see this at the cinemas after being forced to see it. As one who always judges a book by it's cover, I already considered it to be awful and was expecting to be dissapointed. I was wrong. This is one of my all time favourite films and the cast were absolutely incredible. Considering this to be a true story, it makes the film even more heart wrenching and by the time the film had ended I was quite sad that it had. I'd definitely expect that Micky Ward and his family will be unbelievably proud of the film that was based on their life and so they should be.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2010
Is there anything funnier than Christian Bale repeatedly jumping out of 2nd story crack house window just to avoid is mother?
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2011
A feelgood film about a boxer based on a true story? An uplifting sports movie about overcoming the odds? Well, sort of. Yes and no. The Fighter is Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), and the challenge he's overcoming is his brother, the fighter Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Dicky doesn't just dominate the conversation, he is the conversation. He's the type of character who must be the center of attention at all times. Being addicted to crack only fuels the fire of ego-mania for the man who claims to have once "knocked down" Sugar Ray Leonard (even though it's entirely possible he just slipped). Micky is a promising up-and-comer, but his career is being doubly sabotaged by the twin threats of his trainer/brother and manager/mother, Alice (Melissa Leo). The family is so caught up in "the Dicky Show", (with Alice cheerleading Dicky constantly), that no one takes any responsibility for Micky's career, or more specifically, the damage they repeatedly do to it by mis-managing him. In comes Charlene (Amy Adams), a bartender who strikes up a relationship with Micky. She becomes the voice he never had when it came to speaking up for himself to his family.

Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg play characters that couldn't be any more opposite, and both do great things in their own ways with the roles given to them. Melissa Leo also makes a strong impression as the domineering mother, but really this is Bale's shining moment. Dicky the crack addict man baby shows some self-awareness beneath all the self aggrandizing. It's not a subtle role but aspects of it must be subtle to keep an element of surprise to the movie. It's a new take on a well-worn story, but the performances put this film a notch above most other films of it's class.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2011
A solid boxing film based on a true story. This is all about the characters and Bale's performance is incredible and steals the show. More drama than a sports film or action film. It would have been nice to see a little more ring action, however the real story is the lives of the family members involved. Great film!
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2011
A great movie with absolutely great acting everywhere you look, especially by Bale. The song choices for scenes are noticeably off, but that is a small dent in this movie's armor. The cast really captures the essence of a family in distress.
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