There's a certain predictability to The Fighter, yet that's part of the appeal of the fight genre. This one, as thoughtful as it is rousing, scores a TKO.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness...and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Bale is astounding as a strangely charismatic weasel, giving probably the best performance of his career.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
A tough, bare-knuckled, compassionate meditation on every family's rope-a-dope between tribal bonds and self-definition. Both, it turns out, are worth going to the mat for.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
At its punchy, profane best, "The Fighter'' struts along the line between melodrama and comedy.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
After a volatile first half, Micky eclipses Dicky, and The Fighter settles into a predictably rutted narrative arc.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
By far the most rousing, expertly cast movie this year...
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
This is polished entertainment with a little edge, a juicy urban fable for grown-ups.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
The Fighter is so muscularly and tenderly good because it trains its eye on the matches that take place between kin.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
The Fighter is at its most interesting as a comeback story about people who've seen too many comeback stories...
James Rocchi - MSN Movies
Takes a heavy swing at us, and misses.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
Because we aren't deeply invested in Micky, we don't care as much as we should, and the film ends on a note that should be triumph but feels more like simple conclusion.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
It feels like it comes from real life as well as the movies.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
What really holds this together is Wahlberg's low-key, firmly internalized performance as a man torn between his loyalty to the clan and his responsibility to himself.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
The Fighter is funny, ferocious, sad, sweet, pulpy, and violent. Sometimes, all in the same minute.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Fighter" is a great, gutsy boxing story, a knowingly detailed, compelling, often very funny look inside the lives of underdogs battling for respect.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
It's audacious, it's fun, it's rowdy, and it's just twisted enough to always be interesting. Beyond that, it's one of the year's best acting showcases and likely to grab multiple Oscar nominations.
Tom Long - Detroit News
"The Fighter" easily could have slipped into boxing-film cliches, but Russell doesn't let that happen. Instead, it lands its hardest blows while chronicling the struggle of a family, which is a far more interesting fight.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
These are characters so repulsive that it's hard to care what happens to them, but it's to the credit of a superb cast that you do end up caring.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
If The Fighter feels like kind of a mess, lurching from one scene to the next as if the film itself has taken a few hits to the head, that's not entirely a bad thing.
Peter Debruge - Variety
Pity the boxing movie that thinks it can be both "Raging Bull" and "Rocky."
Kyle Smith - New York Post
You may not physically experience the punches that rain upon Mark Wahlberg's dogged pro boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, but it feels as if you do.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Wildly uneven and about as entertaining, "The Fighter" is committed to the rambunctious masculine energy of the boxing ring.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Makes too many concessions to the Hollywood judges, pulls too many punches.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Russell has taken a tale of mythic American redemption and one of those Hollywood screenplays with four credited writers and somehow made a movie so rousing, so real and so full of complicated emotions that it all feels brand-new.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Russell has always excelled at finding new ways to use familiar actors, and every performance in The Fighter is noteworthy if not outstanding.
Dana Stevens - Slate
True story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward is played for domestic drama about a dysfunctional family that never quite earns your sympathy.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Less a boxing drama than a drama with some boxing in it, The Fighter turns Bale loose in a supporting role that dominates director David O. Russell's film.
David Germain - Associated Press
Wahlberg has the requisite tough physicality, but his emotional take on Micky is pleasingly delicate.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
The Fighter, its heart full to bursting, is an emotional powerhouse that comes close to spilling over.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
A great boxing movie, a great film about family. Gritty, thrilling, inspirational. Deserves multiple Oscar nominations.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
The movie initially feels like more of a near thing than the filmmakers anticipated, but as in boxing it's only the final decision that counts.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
But while this was amusing in a comedic or satiric context, it backfires in a dramatic narrative in which the protagonist should warrant our sympathies.
Martin Tsai - Critic's Notebook
Russell walks a narrow line between laughing with the family and laughing at them, but the film never crosses over into parody.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Blue-collar Bostonian has replaced Southern redneck as Hollywood's white-trash signifier of choice.
Superb performances and a well told story make The Fighter one of the year's best films.
Matt Joseph - We Got This Covered
Driven by great performances and great characters, this drama is a must-see.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
Acting for the silver screen doesn't get more raw, moving or accomplished than what you see in "The Fighter," that rare film in which every performer in it leaves the viewer in awe.
While Bale turns in a 5-star performance, his character's story bobs and weaves around Wahlberg's simpler, steady efforts.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
This film was supposed to be a crowd-pleaser, but in the end, there's just not a whole lot to be pleased about
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Wahlberg gives a restrained and generous performance, which allows his co-stars Leo and Bale to shine (and win awards).
Dan Jardine - Cinemania
May not be a boxing classic, but it's got loads of spit-in-your-eye spirit
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
'The Fighter' isn't revolutionary, but Russell's tweaking of the formula and stellar work by the actors, especially Bale, elevate it above many of its peers.
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
a tale told with the deft precision of a talented filmmaker and the enthusiasm of a lead who cares about his subject.
James Luxford - The National
An excellent cast highlights this stirring boxing drama.
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
While the crowd cheered, I didn't want Micky to win the fight. I wanted somebody ... to come along and rescue him from his family's ignorance.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
Russell delivers what we least expect from him: a pro-family film.
Matthew Sorrento - IdentityTheory
...a boxing movie for people who couldn't care less about boxing.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Mas que una pelicula sobre boxeo, un drama familiar sobre dos hermanos diferentes, una madre dominante y una posibilidad de redencion y exito. El show se lo roban Christian Bale y Melissa Leo con dos de las mejores interpretaciones del ano.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
The Fighter proves that the boxing movie still has life. It also underlines just what a distinctive actor Bale has become.
Geoffrey Macnab - Uncut Magazine [UK]
Christian Bale - reduced lately to whispering solemnity in the likes of Dark Knight and Terminator Salvation - gets to really cut loose with Dicky in a performance that is sure to give Geoffrey Rush a run for his money on Oscar night.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
The ring action in The Fighter is bruising enough, but it's the drama outside the ropes that will leave you reeling.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
With a clutch of Oscar nominations, including nods for Bale, Adams and Leo, The Fighter is a serious contender that connects powerfully.
- Daily Express
Both Wahlberg and Bale are excellent in their different registers, as are Melissa Leo and Amy Adams as the differently calibrated women.
Predictable, but solid enough.
Catherine Bray - Film4
We grow to respect each character's perceptions and forgive their faults, allowing them to win us over in a jubilant finale - a far cry from the schmaltzy The Blind Side.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
As atuacoes grandiosas e marcantes so funcionam por serem ancoradas pela performance centrada e discreta do sempre subestimado Mark Wahlberg.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
Bale, looking rail-thin and wideeyed, has the Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win, but it's Wahlberg who's the more memorable in a less showy role.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Wahlberg, always so physically solid, is deep inside himself in this role.
David Sexton - This is London
An incredible story of triumph against adversity in and out of the boxing ring.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
A movie with both brains and brawn and a knockout performance from Bale, The Fighter takes a familiar rags-to-riches story and delivers a feelgood hit.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Bale steals the movie with a mesmerisingly goofy performance.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Impressively directed and superbly written, this is an emotionally arresting boxing drama with a quartet of terrific performances from Wahlberg, Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
The Fighter looks at first as if it is going to be a far more interesting movie than the straightforward and even rather undemanding drama we finally get.
Russell throws so much at the screen that there is little time to make your mind up.
Kevin Maher - Little White Lies
[A] rickety, unfocused contraption of a film that sputters and chugs along without offering any hint of why its director thought it was worth making.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
This is easily the most shamelessly enjoyable boxing flick since Rocky.
Adam Smith - Radio Times
When is a cliche not a cliche? When the cast of The Fighter delivers it, apparently.
Mike Edwards - What Culture
The film bounces us from one pugilistic or domestic affray to the next, only coming to a near-standstill whenever Wahlberg gets acting space. It goes to show.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
A flawed, frequently ludicrous but overwhelmingly likeable film, old-school to the core and none the worse for it.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
I wouldn't go so far as to call this movie an absolute knockout, but it is certainly well worth a look.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
Dare I say it? It's knockout.
Jamie Dunn - The Skinny
This is a story about guts: having 'em, trusting 'em, spilling 'em.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Two very different but equally powerful performances combine to deliver an exhilarating fight-flick that, like its scrappy central character, is impossible not to root for.
Adam Smith - Empire Magazine
The flaw at The Fighter's heart is the fact that Bale's all over the place. It's a frog-faced, flailing-armed, look at meeee performance that, had it come from Nicolas Cage, would have drawn scorn across the board.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Wahlberg ensures we stay rooted in Micky's journey, for all the script and fellow performers' broad strokes, cliches and conventionalities, and that we root for the scrapper through every round in the ring.
Jay Antani - Cinema Writer
The Fighter is an enjoyable underdog-triumphs-over-adversity story.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
All Wahlberg does is stand quietly in the corner, delivering the most authentic, nuanced performance in the film.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
It's a rousing, compassionate, bare-knuckled ride powerful enough to score a KO, while Bale, Wahlberg, Leo and Adams are all award-worthy excellent.
Matt Mueller - Total Film
In many ways, the film is akin to its lead actor Wahlberg: solid, committed and with just enough spark to ward off the blandness.
Alice Tynan - Concrete Playground
David O'Russell captures the conflict beautifully.
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
While the template is fairly predictable, it nevertheless works.
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Putting aside the characters who get unfair treatment, and the one too many segues which work clumsily to keep pace with the demands of story arc, such touches make The Fighter a better than average boxing movie.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
The Fighter is full of powerful scenes and performances, but in the end, like the character of Micky, it's a bit annoying.
David Stratton - The Australian
The details are so peculiar, the film has a strange and vital ambience of its own.
Peter Galvin - sbs.com.au
Though director David O Russell does embrace the feel-good cliches embedded into movie folklore by Rocky, he does so with a rousing conviction that pushes all the right buttons.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Wahlberg's duties as Micky are largely confined to that of a dramatic anchor. This might be a thankless role by comparison, but The Fighter would fail to land its knockout blow without him.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
The characters are fully developed and the boxing sequences are enthralling. You've always got a ringside seat to the action.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
On its way to the inevitable big bout, The Fighter dallies with schmaltz but is always compelling and it earns its uplifting finale. Plus, the fights are awesome.
Paul Scantlebury - Flicks.co.nz
Thankfully the performances -- together with the convincingly seedy Lowell, Massachusetts setting -- give the story enough life to keep the cliches from feeling like boxes being checked off on a list.
Anthony Morris - The Vine
Christian Bale steals the show with his unforgettable performance in this absorbing and bruising drama.
Mark Demetrius - FILMINK (Australia)
The Fighter is a supremely well acted true life tale that packs a mighty wallop.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Chopin playing Chopsticks.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
... so one-sided, you almost forget Wahlberg is even part of the production when Bale is on screen.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
A typically underwhelming effort from David O. Russell...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
The first half of 'The Fighter' outpoints the last, though neither part is KO'd.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Bale's performance is so good it almost collapses into mimicry, but his twisted and terrifyingly accurate ability to portray the quirks and simmering undertones of difficult characters ensures that his performances always transcend such claims.
Nick Deigman - Fan The Fire
[It is] impressive in the way it takes its time developing its characters before the boxing montages kick in.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
The emotional meat of The Fighter lies not in the traditional sports-movie narrative of the ascension of the underdog (although there is plenty of that), but rather in the turmoil of Micky's dysfunctional family
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Most of the drama takes place outside of the ring, where lives are on the line, a family is divided and one of the year's best movies is found.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Director David O. Russell and his superb cast manage to bob and weave around the cliches to make the story resonate beyond the standard confines of the genre.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
[David O. Russell] brings heart, humour and humanity to The Fighter, and can always be relied on to bring brutality and truth to a medium where it is sadly a rarer and rarer occurrence.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
'The Fighter' is a powerful film, less about the boxing ring and more about family.
Clay Cane - BET.com
The Fighter is not an edgy movie, but it doesn't need to be. It [...] transfixes us with flesh and blood characters that never pull their punches.
Paj Sandhu - Moviedex
While Wahlberg's Mickey is someone we can relate to and root for, Dicky is there to challenge us, and through Bale's commitment to the role, The Fighter is lifted and given a remarkable credibility
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
Takes on a whole different level of realism with Bale, pathetically gaunt yet heroically charismatic, nailing Dicky's double edged nature.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
The story is prototypical, been-there-done-that underdog-with-deep-family-issues stuff, but Russell goes James Gray enough to keep things consistently effective, with a successful portrayal of familial pressure and the tough choices it brings about.
Gabe Leibowitz - Film and Felt
If you are familiar with boxing history you know how the story ends. If you do not, take a seat and find out for yourself. Either way "The Fighter" pays off.
John Esther - UR Chicago Magazine
A sturdy piece of entertainment that adds a wrinkle to the traditional underdog tale by having Ward's greatest battles come from within his own family.
Stephen Saito - IFC.com
David O. Russell Gives Us a Good Boxing Film But Nothing Groundbreaking. Christian Bale's Eating Disorder Really Shines.
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
If Mark Wahlberg stars as an interesting character, the movie has a fighting chance at the box office.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
The Fighter delivers and inspirational knockout.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
Cinderella Man with crack pipes
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Ward's story may unfold in the manner of many sports biopics but The Fighter's more about the complex familial ties that bind than it is about the sweet science itself.
Jen Yamato - Movies.com
Amy Adams stepped out of her cookie cutter roles and took on a badass role and stole the show. By far her best performance and Oscar worthy in my opinion.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Get ready rock and roll with one of the best films of the year. Bale and Leo hit you like a sock on the jaw.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
A powerful and somehow fresh movie about a subject that had seemingly been sucked dry of ideas.
Nick Nunziata - CHUD
...this is clearly one of the best films of the year regardless of how you feel about boxing, which I consider a deplorable anachronistic remnant of Roman gladiators.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
All four principals are well-cast and up to the challenge, but the knuckle-sandwich dialogue kayos the actors at every turn.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
A well-made movie, one I enjoyed overall, but it may be unfortunate that, while I watched this movie, I happened to find myself particularly vulnerable to formula fatigue.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
I suspect that over time The Fighter will accrue a cult following among boxing aficionados as a rare film that got the sport they love right.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
Takes the "Rocky" road to success, with the plus of outstanding acting
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
A seamless story where every moment in the ring, in romantic scenes, and in the depiction of family struggles feels real.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
sure, it's an exceedingly simple movie, and it's easy to dismiss as just another sports flick about overcoming odds, but it's also an exceedingly well-told movie, which is far and away more important.
Sean Gandert - Paste Magazine
It doesn't take long before you get into the mesmerizing ebb and flow of The Fighter, a blue collar tour-de-force featuring incredibly rhythmic performances, a riveting narrative, and taut direction.
Elias Savada - Film Threat
A fitting tribute to a real-life Rocky and Adrian featuring a quartet of inspired performances by Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.
Kam Williams - TheLoop21.com
The Fighter is a brilliant film with an ensemble that does an amazing job of portraying the dysfunctional, complicated family.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
I'm a sucker for a good sports movie, add Christin Bale in a Oscar worthy performance, Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg and you can't go wrong. Great cast, good story makes it one of the year's best.
Michelle Alexandria - Eclipse Magazine
The Fighter, works best as an entertaining tale of chaotic family dynamics. The fight footage is mostly bland and mundane, and we get little insight into the boxing world.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Driven by its ensemble of skilled actors, The Fighter contrasts success and failure, ambition and apathy, victory and defeat.
Rubin Safaya - Cinemalogue.com
This knockout cinematic sensation proves that true stories always make the best movies. This is a real contender in several Oscar categories including...
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
The film's final match is terrifically exciting, in part because of the thrilling way Russell shoots it, but mostly because of how eager we are for Micky to succeed.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
No matter how Hollywoodized, it's still just another dumb boxing movie
Earns its way into your heart with good old-fashioned legwork, Capra-corn lite with a dusting of grit.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
Though there are times when David O. Russell seems to think he's slumming, he still crafts a satisfyingly potent familial melodrama that transcends the boxing genre.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo are amazing trainwrecks that demand to be watched.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
If this movie proves anything it's that Christian Bale is the greatest actor of his generation.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
The musical choices are so on-the-nose as to make you do double takes. How do we know that Micky has his heart back in the fight game and is ready to commit fully? Why, we hear Aerosmith's Back in the Saddle.
Adam Lippe - Examiner.com
The whole thing's a knockout.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Doggedly obvious melodrama...But what makes the clichés palatable is a communal commitment to getting the story right.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
As Albert Einstein said when he scribbled E=mc2 on the back of a Princeton bar napkin, "sometimes formulas work."
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Only Amy Adams, playing Micky's tough-tender girlfriend Charlene, manages to be convincingly working-class without seeming either dopey or rabid or strung-out.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
A vastly entertaining boxing tale featuring championship bouts from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
It is this intelligence, conveyed through the choices made by the actors and director, that makes The Fighter a great and enduring human drama.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
David O. Russell's film bobs and weaves, dodges and dances and hits just enough to keep us from relying on the formulas lesser sports movies have taught us.
Alissa Wilkinson - Christianity Today
As much a knockabout comedy -- the almost skeletal Bale performs with the goofy, loose-limbed exuberance of the young Jerry Lewis -- as a traditional boxing movie or inspirational drama of overcoming addiction.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The Fighter" is one of the best movies of the year. It is a feature that follows the tenet that the best sports movies are more about people than the athletic contest.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Give Christian Bale and Melissa Leo the Oscar right now! The Fighter contains the best boxing matches since Raging Bull.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
It may not be as deep as you'd expect, but it is a heck of a lot of fun.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Wahlberg and Adams find something gritty and credible in their beat-down, blue-collar characters, and their moments on screen together have a deep, resounding humanity.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Everything about The Fighter sounds like a cliche, but it comes off like a perfectly made movie that hits you emotionally and makes you appreciate the amazing talent bringing the film to life.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
The script is never heavy-handed, adeptly mingling humor with drama, with a tone so authentic that we feel we could easily share a beer with these folks. Even better ... we'd want to.
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
The Fighter doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does exemplify the very best of it-a crowd-pleasing triumph about a working-class underdog
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
A scrappy, hard-edged motion picture ... [but] it's a shame when it becomes less Raging Bull and more Rocky IV.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
The fact that I found myself with sweaty palms while watching the finale (despite having seen too many boxing movies to count) is a testament to the work of those in front of and behind the camera. (Parental Review also Available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
There are a lot of moving parts here, complex relationships between the brothers, the mother and her sons, and even the seven loudmouthed, Jerry Springer-ready sisters that complete the family. Yet none of them feel shortchanged in Russell's care.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
A likeable, lighthearted boxing flick that will score an Oscar for Christian Bale.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
It would have been easy to turn this family into caricatures, but instead Russell, working from a screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, found their humanity.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
The Fighter, stirring and unshakable, is never as merciless and emotional, as traumatic and triumphant, as when the gloves are off.
Kevin Williamson - Jam! Movies
It's what my former theater teacher liked to call "shmacting." And The Fighter is filled with a lot of it.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
It does somewhat feel different than many other movies in the genre because of its very realistic, gritty, intimate approach.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
A putative boxing movie that deepens into a engrossingly strange, tragicomic portrait of addiction and its repercussions.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
The Fighter is a crowd pleaser and an Oscar baiter. Bale gives one of the great performances of the year, and it's probably the best of his entire career.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
As scrappy and tough as most of its big-mouthed characters. The money performance is Adams.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Mostly goes through the repetitive motions on the way to its predetermined outcome.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Comes down to a set of boxing matches, yet after so much time with these characters, they aren't empty displays of sport.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
The only thing really surprising about The Fighter is that Ron Howard didn't direct it.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
...a great boxing movie, a great Massachusetts movie, and a great showcase for its lead actors.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Impeccably combines the pleasures of a big entertainment with the provocative food-for-thought of a motion picture with loftier goals in mind than simple diversion.
"The Fighter" is entertaining from beginning to end and contains two brilliant and extreme supporting performances that are among the year's best.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Don't like boxing movies? No problem. The Fighter isn't like any other boxing movie you've seen.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
It knows what it is, doesn't try to be what it's not, and hits you with drop-dead force. In short, it's terrific.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
adheres too closely to the formulaic blueprint hammered out by Sylvester Stallone's Rocky nearly 35 years ago.
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
Turns out to be almost as blandly formulaic as its title.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
"The Fighter" would be just as inspirational even if it were not true, because of the quartet of actors who elevate its earnestness into Oscar-worthy territory.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It's a movie that simply works. Is it great art? Not really. It's not ambitious enough to be called great art. But it is great entertainment.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
The entire cast of actors is excellent in this film. The boxing scenes are very convincing.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
The Fighter is a boxing movie swinging in too many directions at once, as if someone sneaked a third clubber into the ring. All the emotional punches land solidly but at the conclusion you're not sure which competing cliche wins.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
The Fighter is a true anomaly: A moving drama about two brothers in which boxing is merely a backdrop for their familial tussles.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
A classic story of a local boy who makes good is rendered electric by tremendous performances.
Marcy Dermansky - About.com
A good film that works better than it should, but falls short of greatness.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Boxing biopic mixes inspiring story, mature content.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Saved by superb performances, it's really a depressing, drug-drenched melodrama disguised as a boxing movie.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
The buzz on the street about David O. Russell's The Fighter-the boxing movie is a rousing crowd-pleaser, stolen by Christian Bale-was correct.
Anne Thompson - Thompson on Hollywood
A gritty triumph, this riveting boxing drama is much more than just the 'Christian Bale Crackhead Movie.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
Hail the brilliant, astonishing Christian Bale. He's the only actor currently acting in movies. Bale makes a huge commitment to all his characters.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
The Fighter is among the year's most pleasant surprises. Who knew that a movie with so many depressing elements in it could also be so damn funny and uplifting?
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
The Fighter is something of a mess. It's a slaphappy, punch-drunk brawl of a movie.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
The film has an amazing ability to portray its main character's personal life with such authenticity that the boxing scenes become more than sport - they become a fight for life.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
The movie has so much texture that once it gets you, you're good and got.
Stars Wahlberg and Bale are superb...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Packs a wallop.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
A heartfelt script and outstanding turns by Bale, Leo and Adams make The Fighter a true knockout and a real Oscar contender. Perhaps after next February, it'll have another thing in common with Rocky, after all.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
While it's not a total knockout, The Fighter wins on points thanks to a strong ensemble cast and director David O. Russell's playful spirit behind the camera.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
Ensemble acting at its finest. Stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo deliver knock-out performances here, as does everyone else in this outstanding film.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of former boxer Mickey Ward packs a riveting and powerful punch but it's the performances by the rest of the cast, including scene stealer Christian Bale that makes the film a winner.
Wilson Morales - AOL Black Voices
As The Fighter presents fight after fight, the tonal quirks and distances don't ask you to disinvest so much as they invite you to consider the many ways that audiences -- you included -- shape what you see.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
As a film, "The Fighter" is a sturdy, solid slugger - but not quite a champ.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Has a cracking pace, lively characters bloated with Boston bile, and a sense of neighborhood imprisonment, shaping an encrusted reality to balance out the Cinderella story.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Like its protagonist, it's too inarticulate for its own good, but can reach moments of grandeur when everything aligns just so.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
You can see The Fighter struggling to be significant, to be more than just an interesting tale well told.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
...the inspiriting story of beating the odds and love of family make this one for all.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Fighter is OK as a gritty indie with great performances from Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. But the all too familiar Rocky-formula keeps it from being a total KO.
Peter Paras - E! Online
Instead of trying to overwhelm us with the blood and beauty of boxing, Russell concentrates on creating an eye-level and entertaining, but also believable, family drama.
Bob Westal - Bullz-Eye.com
Even when the narrative meanders, the phenomenal performances and Russell's dogged interest in them make The Fighter rousing, surprisingly funny, and even heartfelt too.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
David O. Russell's made a Boston movie that passes local muster and his direction of a mix of professional and non-professional actors has resulted in one of the best acting ensembles of the year.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Fighter doesn't try to upend the genre, but it's a reminder of how satisfying these movies can be when they're done right.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
The flawed working class characters generate big laughs from their big hair, big accents and big brawls, but ultimately [director David O.] Russell loves them all like family.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
The suspense isn't just about who's going to win the big fight, but who's going to emerge from Ward's big, fierce jungle of a family with their lives intact.
David Ansen - Newsweek
More a lurching, blue-collar social drama than a conventional boxing biopic, The Fighter connects fitfully as a story of brotherly bonds and underdog triumph, courtesy of engaging performances.
Brent Simon - Screen International
This movie triumphs exuberantly as a crowd-pleasing underdog fight flick. But it really connects as a horrible and hilarious deconstruction of family values gone nuclear.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
A phenomenal piece of work. Wahlberg, Bale, Adams, and Leo are all Oscar-worthy. Ranks with RAGING BULL, ROCKY and BODY & SOUL as one of the greatest boxing movies ever made.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Biopic about former welterweight champ Micky Ward has neither the subtle heart of "Rocky" nor the brutality of "Raging Bull", but it does possess an achingly real performance from Amy Adams that's a complete knockout.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Whenever it should bounce backward, it lunges forward; it jabs instead of feints, and stomps down hard when it needs to dance.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Wahlberg gives a deceptively low-key performance as the movie's still point, perfectly setting off the crackling fuse that is Bale's Dicky, a grinning strutter who knows he's screwed up but can't quite say goodbye to the limelight.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A cheesy "Raging Bull"-"Rocky" mashup served on a hot buttered bulkie roll, David O. Russell's "The Fighter" is Scorsese-lite with Mark Wahlberg's boxer Micky Ward flanked by two performances that are as much about overacting as acting.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
[Wahlberg's] modest performance is the one element that feels truly authentic and heartfelt. The role plays to his strengths: a rough-and-tumble earthiness, the ability to suggest a dreamer lurking beneath the exterior of a bruiser.
David Fear - Time Out
Americans used to seeing trickedup versions of themselves in the movies (or degraded-by-narcissism versions on reality TV) will be startled at the honesty of David O. Russell's The Fighter.
Armond White - New York Press
So convincing was Bale as a crackhead that I didn't even realize it was him until the end credits rolled. I expected the screen to read "Dicky.... Played by ACTUAL CRACKHEAD"
Phil Villarreal - OK! Magazine
A rousing, captivating and heartfelt sports drama filled with terrific performances. It's a knockout!
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
David O. Russell's slam to the gut is as much about personal dysfunction as it is about the very real story of boxing.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
This boxing film has us rooting for a working-class hero who struggles to find his style in the ring and outside the ring within his dysfunctional family.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Upbeat but harrowing, a story of family cohesion threatened by implosion. It's a fine boxing story, but it's an even more compelling story of relationships worth fighting for.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The best thing about The Fighter is... No, no, it's just too hard to choose.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
A solid, inside look at the out-of-ring life of a boxer.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Russell choreographs and shoots scenes of interpersonal squabbling and in-ring fisticuffs with competent but unremarkable efficiency, leaving the proceedings devoid of distinctive authorial personality.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
David O. Russell's reputation as a distinctive filmmaker could possibly be restored.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
David O. Russell's populist boxing serio-comedy is his broadest, most chaotic and diffuse movie, but also his most commercial work to date, boasting Oscar-caliber turns from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
It is a wonderful movie, commercial and approachable but built with real integrity, and I hope audiences embrace it this holiday season.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
After watching someone who is so muddle-headed about what's good and bad for himself, admiration and a viewer's sense of involvement goes down for the count.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
A slim film that carries itself like a champion. In this Oscar season, it's a boxer elevating his stats by taking down weaker competition.
Amy Nicholson - Boxoffice Magazine
Count me in as a lover of THE FIGHTER.
Luke Y. Thompson - Geekweek
If I'd known how emotionally abusive his family was, I might have braced myself. It just makes me appreciate that I get to live on my own and be my own person with my family. This behavior is tragic.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies