A movie inspired by true events, that only life itself can come up with.
The movie basically is about a family and how a family ties up and can mean everything in your life. It also shows how easy it is to ruin relationships. How careful you sometimes have to be, to keep it all together.
There are these two brothers. Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Micky is a professional boxer, waiting for his big shot. Dicky is the older brother and was a professional boxer too. For Micky his brother is a hero. Everything he knows about boxing, his brother taught him. Dicky is also pretty much the local hero of the small town they live in. He got his big shot once and from then on went along the downward spiral. Nothing really worked out for Dicky and he lives from the glory of the past. Micky is now the boxing talent and the whole family is involved in the management. The family pretty much is the management, the training and everything else that has to be done, to keep Micky professionally boxing.
We early on understand that the family, even if it always tries to do the best, often enough fails to do the job right. So Micky gets the wrong fights and starts to question his future as a professional boxer. His brother Dicky, in the meantime became a crack addict and landed in jail, can’t really help his brother. The movie takes a nice trip into both brothers’ lives and we can see how things start to change. Dicky in jail finally gets clean and starts to understand what went wrong all the time. Micky on the other hand falls in love with a girl (Amy Adams) that manages it to open up his eyes. She is the one who tells Micky some truths that, I guess he already knew, but chose to ignore. Like we so often do. It’s hard to accept the truth sometimes. That’s life. Mark Wahlberg plays that part so well here. He has to fight this struggle, chosing between his family or the chance to really get somewhere as a professional boxer.
The family, of course, is against the decision of Micky to go the path alone. First and foremost his mother (Melissa Leo). Of course they all love each other. You can see it really is a close family. Micky’s mother only wants the best. But often enough that’s not enough or the right thing. And it is hard to accept that.
When Dicky gets released from jail he thinks he can join the training with Micky again. To help him prepare for a big fight. Micky’s big chance. Micky though made a deal to keep the family out of his boxingbusiness. That leads all the characters to a point where decisions have to be made. Eventually all the right people find the right decisions.
This movie tells a story that feels so natural and realistic, that for no second you think anything in it did not really happen that way. It is a very convincingly played family drama by everyone involved. Also showing where the characters come from. What milieu built their roots. It, for certain, is not a ‘Rocky’ clone. No way! It stands on its own and deserves every credit. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo received a well deserved Oscar for their performances. Especially Christian Bale and his look in the movie, strongly reminded me on ‘The Machinist’. He really looks worn up and done. Same goes for Mark Wahlberg’s character Micky. Both of them go through some serious crap and it really is visible on screen. That’s how you build a connection with the audience. Believability.
So yeah, a story about how to let go and finding the right paths in life. A straight recommendation.