The Fighter is a movie that will mean different things to different people. Some will require more patience than others to allow its story to be told to them. Others may come away unsure of what to think. Some will come away feeling empowered. But what all will experience is the honest journey of a man who struggles to find himself, and ends up finding much more.
Micky Ward is a Lowell, MA man who came up from nothing to become a champion boxer. Dicky Ecklund is his half-brother. It’s around these two brothers and their family that the movie The Fighter is built. Together, Micky and Dicky fight to not let their surroundings determine who they are. Dicky is still living off of the glory of having faced a big name boxer during his prime, and wrings every possible drop out of that fame. He’s a proud man; so proud that he fails to see that his addiction to a terrible drug is blinding him to how much he lets his brother down. Meanwhile, Micky is pushing hard to prove that he’s more than just a boxer. His family believes in him, but they’re not exactly focused on doing whatever it takes to be supportive.
There’s no doubt that the cast of The Fighter is as good as it gets. Although Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are clearly seasoned actors who have worked hard at what they do and are amazing artists, it’s almost the less famous background cast that makes this film an unimaginable accomplishment, were it not for them. One gets the sense that the many actors who played Ward & Ecklund’s family are likely Lowell locals who were included not only because of their skill but for the sake of authenticity. If that’s the case, it was a brilliant move as it accomplishes just that. It’s not hard to feel less like we’re watching a filmmaker’s take on a true story, and more like we’re watching a documentary at times. And, of course, one can’t mention how great the cast is without mentioning the performance of Amy Adams as Micky’s fiery and passionate girlfriend, who helps guide him through some of his confusion when he is figuring out who he is outside of his brother’s shadow.
Driving home after seeing the movie, I was trying to understand the message that this story sends. I believe there are two main messages that I have derived here, among possibly others. First of all, it’s important not to allow one’s past become overwhelming. The future is undetermined. Second, it is the hard fought victories, with all the associated pain and heartache, that are the sweetest.
Rudy Regehr currently lives and works in Chillwack, BC with his wife Tanya and daughter Aliyah. Rudy first attended Saint Benedict’s Table in September 2009 and immediately realized that he was Anglican and that he found his church home at last. Born in March 1978, Rudy loves writing and smoking cigars and would love to someday write professionally