Cinderella Man Reviews
I personally like this one more than most of the Rocky series (please don't kill me). The final fight is absolutely epic.
The boxing sequences are decent, not "Rocky" level though, and the heart-wrenching underdog story is the perfect combination of touching and powerful. Russell Crowe plays Braddock with such grittiness, but also with a full heart, that his performance is highly memorable in addition to Renée Zellweger who plays his wife. However, Paul Giamatti steals the show with performance as Braddock's trainer and manager.
It has an undeniable spirit and grit. The matches are burly, bloody and thrilling to behold in the beautiful, smoky atmosphere of the boxing ring and they give both the characters and audience a distraction from the otherwise sad circumstances of the story. The heart of the film is James' fall and dramatic rise, but the film is not really a character study. There are no inner conflicts or introspective monologues here. Russell Crowe is an ordinary good guy with a strict moral code. He's likable, but not complex. Normally it wouldn't work, but it works here because the conflict is between this very regular man and extraordinarily circumstances that strip away everything he has. The film is powerful because it celebrates a victory during a time of so much loss. In portraying that idea, the filmmakers succeeded. It is an immensely cathartic and satisfying film.