Everything that happened in this movie has happened in every other prizefight movie. That made it depressingly familiar and undramatic, despite the great performances.
While the critics have praised this film, when you go deeper into it, the story is trite in every dimension. The supporting cast make up in number what they lack in credibility. The brother, played in a haunting performance by Christian Bale, finally becomes monotonous even for a crack addict. The gang of sisters, all totally interchangeable, are crazed harpies acting out with the permission of their overbearing mother who plays as the ringleader of the mob. My heart went out to this poor prizefighter. Getting punched out probably felt better than being in this poor family.
This movie had one novelty and that was the effect on the prizefighter of his overbearing and crack addicted brother. Even that didn’t ring true. As addle-brained as the brother was, it was still kind of unbelievable that he was absolutely clueless that he was going to be portrayed unflatteringly in the HBO documentary that was being made about his failed career as a fighter.
The sisters were so suspiciously unanimous in the way they went on the attack against anybody they saw threatening the sanctity of the family. I think that all these sisters, because they had such a grotesquely overbearing matriarch running the family, would be forced into a Darwinian struggle for existence. Sooner or later, one sister or another would predominate – some of them at least would distinguish themselves. Or, at least, there would be a pecking order. But this doesn’t happen. They are like a cranky pack of clone-like pitbulls.
Finally, I could not believe the step father was such a wuss. How could he put up with these raving maniacs.
“The Fighter” is the story about a boxer from a working class family in Lowell, Massachusetts. Before, his family managed his career and they put him in the ring with bigger heavier fighters that beat the hell out of him. In addition, the family was kind of convulsing with the problems caused by the fact that the older brother was a crack addict and mourning the demise of his own boxing career. Can the younger brother extricate himself from the clutches of his own whacked out crazy family and on his own get a title shot.
Ultimately the fighter’s inability to make a break with this family was the most incredible aspect of this movie. The mother was insufferable. The crack-head brother, he had to know, was no role model. And, the attractive girlfriend made so much sense and, for a normal guy, had to represent a much more appealing and hopeful path. How could he stay in this confining bell jar of a family? I couldn’t believe it.