This biopic is not only a film about boxing but also an in-depth description of a suburban family. As the title says, the story is developed around Micky Ward's (Mark Wahlberg) professional career as a welterweight boxer and the personal issues that he had to face during his chase for success. I would like to mention though another fighter because I had the feeling that I witnessed two fighters struggling for their personal merit and that is Micky's brother, the former welterweight boxer, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).
Mark Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, a boxer who lives in his brother's shadow. He struggles to find his mental and physic balance to achieve great things professionally but has a hard time "thanks" to his family. Although he is ambitions and strong, he has a weakness for his family. He is close to his brother, Dicky, he listens to his mother Alice, which is also manager and he loves Charlene, a girl he met up in a bar. Being emotionally too much involved he has a hard time dealing with everyone. Alice, played extraordinary by Melissa Leo, is a garrulous mother, egocentric and irascible person, jealous and actually possessive. Amy Adams plays Charlene, a more educated and reasonable girl who devotes herself and spends all her energy trying to make Micky get on his track and regain his confidence after a couple of losses. Jack McGee plays Micky's father, George Ward, a more calmer and thoughtful person than anyone under Ward's roof.
The pinnacle of this movie however is Christian Bale's impersonation of Dicky Eklund. Dicky is a guy who lives in the past, building his whole life on one fight he had 14 years ago with Sugar Ray Leonard. He becomes a social mess by diving into the world of drugs and creating conflicts from mediocre situations. Because he is his brother's personal hero his positive influence and his training methods become easily affected by his negativity and his lousy character. Bale's performance is a colossal achievement this year and definitely deserves an academy award because not only he adapted his accent and behavior but he also managed to adapt his physical portrayal, his physical gestures. He is solely unrecognizable as Bale but only as Dicky. Not only these characters seem to have nothing in common so fights obviously would break but you have to see these other figures which are Micky's siblings, all sisters. They all act like a bunch of sheep or oompa-loompas trolling around the house making things more crazy than they already are. These character problems are part of the suburban environment they all grew up. Without a proper education and a social solid structure they will manage to reveal at some point more of the worst than the best. Now, I said in the beginning that I saw Dicky as being a fighter also. That is correct because thanks to Dicky's good will and ambition we see him fight his condition and return from jail (because that's where he ends up some time in the story) to help his brother become one thing he never was: a champion.
Technically the movie has its ups and downs. I didn't really enjoy that much the fighting scenes. I think they could have presented them in a different way. Other than that, it is pretty well edited, good cinematography involved but I kinda felt the lack of music. There is melody and there are songs chosen as backgrounds for training or for a certain fight but other than that it's a pretty technical flat film. I think the director and the crew concentrated more on the story and the acting than on the technical details and that served out to be a very good thing to do.
I don't have to say nothing at the end but to thank Dicky's struggle, to thank Charlene for her affection and advices she gave and to ultimately thank Micky's ambition and heart because now Hollywood had a true story of someone that did not BECAME SOMEONE but ACHIEVED SOMETHING. After all, you could become someone but are you guaranteed you'll achieve something?
Art Direction: 7,5/10.