The Wrestler - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Wrestler Reviews

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Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
| Original Score: 5/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 16, 2009
It's a wonderful, career-reviving performance, and you can't imagine the movie without him. Welcome back, Mickey.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
January 16, 2009
Predictable as it is, this sad, strong beast of a film keeps us pinned to the mat with the strength of its compassion and the overpowering force of its central performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Huddlestone
Time Out
January 16, 2009
Aronofsky directs with unfussy candour, alternating between the intensity of the wrestling and the drabness of Randy's 'real' life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 14, 2009
The chance to play that poignant confusion is the real prize that Rourke and Tomei earn in The Wrestler.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
January 9, 2009
The movie presses too hard and too often, but the performances are strong enough to withstand the melodramatic impulses, and the themes of isolation and self-destructiveness are too sharply realized to be trivialized.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 9, 2009
The Wrestler has the intimacy of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. No stunt men were harmed -- or used -- in the fight sequences. But the drama makes for vibrant art.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 9, 2009
With uncommon intelligence and brutal honesty, The Wrestler examines the cost, and need, of battle.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 9, 2009
The Wrestler is strong, confident filmmaking. It shows you everything you need to know, and never whispers in your ear what you're supposed to feel about it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 9, 2009
If this ragged but near-brilliant movie is about a guy trying to resurrect his career, so too is the performance at its heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mark Rahner
Seattle Times
January 8, 2009
Mickey Rourke delivers such an unexpectedly moving, charming and physically impressive performance that he deserves some other award than Guy Who Gets Asked 'What The Hell Happened To You?' Most Often.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 8, 2009
The Wrestler isn't a perfect movie, but Rourke's performance gives it the impact of an atomic elbow drop.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
January 5, 2009
The famously downbeat Aronofsky captures the grimy texture of life at the bummed-out bottom of the wrestling circuit, but the center of the movie is Rourke's unimpeachable performance as a man who exults in self-punishment.
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John Anderson
Washington Post
December 29, 2008
Imagining someone other than the beatifically battered Mickey Rourke in the title role of The Wrestler would be like picturing someone other than John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 29, 2008
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler is one of the all-time exalted examples of an actor meeting a character and of each redeeming the other.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
December 25, 2008
Rourke, in a role that could have invited outsized characterization, instead offers modesty and understatement. This small performance, in a small film, is by far the biggest of his career.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 24, 2008
The Wrestler is suffused with sadness, yet also the wonder of a spirit that refuses to be snuffed out, and it's a lesson to us all.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 24, 2008
The excesses are easy to forgive, both for the humour and charisma of Rourke's outsized performance and Aronofsky's canny low-key direction, which make for a combination that is irresistible.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 24, 2008
Mickey Rourke plays the battered, broke, lonely hero, Randy ('The Ram') Robinson. This is the performance of his lifetime, will win him a nomination, may win him the Oscar.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 24, 2008
The Wrestler is about the seductions of superficiality and the dull ache of living beyond one's moment. It stares with compassion at the man pinned on the mat and wonders how he'll ever get out of this one.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2008
It is a pleasure to see Rourke finesse this amalgamation of The Champ, Marty, Rocky and a dozen other movies to his supreme advantage.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 19, 2008
I would much rather have seen a movie about the devastations of the real Mickey Rourke. By comparison, the Ram seems like a stand-in -- a screenwriter's pseudo-hard-boiled concoction.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 19, 2008
Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 19, 2008
Rourke and Tomei bring a tender, lived-in honesty to their sad roles.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Noel Murray
AV Club
December 19, 2008
The movie feeds off Rourke, who plays a genuinely decent guy who never lets his dawning self-awareness interfere with his responsibility to give the fans a show.
| Original Score: B+
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
December 18, 2008
It's a hell of a performance -- and a hellish one -- in a film that isn't entirely sure what to do with it.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
December 18, 2008
Rourke is harrowing; Tomei is devastating.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2008
While the director was essential in collaborating with Rourke to create that memorable performance, it remains real work in an essentially fake film, and there is nothing anyone can do about that.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 17, 2008
The Wrestler shows that, in both movies and wrestling, the line between reality and play-acting may be less clear than we assume.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
December 17, 2008
The Wrestler offers something to pretty much everyone in the audience. Much like The Sopranos, it creates a world that might make you feel utterly at home or exhilarated by strange horrors. Maybe both.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 17, 2008
It's no Raging Bull, more like Rocky shot with a handheld camera. But Rourke's wounded tough guy is undeniably captivating. He smacks you in the gut and wrenches your heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
December 17, 2008
The scruffy, almost accidental beauty of The Wrestler comes as even more of a surprise than the greatness of Mickey Rourke's performance.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 17, 2008
Mickey Rourke, who has been flying under the radar for nearly two decades, makes this a comeback to remember.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 16, 2008
Present in every scene, if not each shot, Rourke gives a tremendously physical performance that The Wrestler essentially exists to document.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 15, 2008
This is a case where an actor makes the difference.
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Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
December 15, 2008
To put it simply, this is the best film I've seen this year.
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Ben Lyons
At the Movies
December 15, 2008
This is a film that you have got to see. You won't be disappointed.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 10, 2008
The Wrestler is like Rocky made by the Scorsese of Mean Streets. It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 10, 2008
Like Jack Palance in Requiem for a Heavyweight, the man you're watching not only has the role of a lifetime; he seems to be living it, too. The result is the most brutally honest performance of the year.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
December 8, 2008
What Rourke offers us, in short, is not just a comeback performance but something much rarer: a rounded, raddled portrait of a good man.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 10, 2008
Aronofsky pulls all the usual strings in The Wrestler. But in the end the movie works, maybe because the best things about it are things that Aronfsky isn't even conscious of.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
September 17, 2008
To say this is a great comeback for an actor whose talent was exceeded only by his self-destructiveness is obvious.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 8, 2008
Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances.
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Stephen Farber
Hollywood Reporter
September 4, 2008
Although the film teeters on the brink of sentimentality, it never topples into the slush, and this is a tribute to the rigorous direction as well as the astringent performances.