My friends lied to me. They told me that The Fighter was more of a drama and had hardly any boxing in it (I'm really not a fan of two guys punching each other whatever the circumstances).
Against my better instincts and mainly because it's an Oscar contender this year, I finally relented and went to see it.
Luckily the fantastic performances helped to mask the boxing in the movie, especially Christian Bale, who was almost unrecognisable in looks and personality. Everyone has been raving about his and Melissa Leo's performances and I have to say both actors deserve their Golden Globes, his for his depiction of the crack addicted brother of boxer 'Irish' Micky Ward and hers for her portrayal of family matriarch and her son's gutsy manager.
'Alice Ward' clearly favours her older son 'Dicky' (Bale), who is known as the 'Pride of Lowell', and regarded as a local hero for knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard earlier in his boxing career. She even overlooks his drug taking and unprofessionalism with regards his brothers training.
When Mark Wahlberg's 'Micky' meets Amy Adams 'Charlene' the fun really starts, as the antagonism between her and his mother and seven sisters provides welcome comic relief to help lighten this tale of boxing, drug addiction, family squabbling and prison.
In the end even though Micky's brother lets him down, in the end he comes good and helps him win his first prize title fight, something he was never able to achieve himself.
Mark Wahlberg may look the part (having trained for this part for years), but you never really feel he brings the boxing champion to life and he is totally outshone by the other fine actors around him.
This tale of family and perseverance deserves three *** stars for the performances alone and I can see it taking home some of the supporting actor Oscars, but I don't think it'll take home the Best Picture.