The Wrestler Reviews

  • The Wrestler is like Rocky made by the Scorsese of Mean Streets. It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • The Wrestler shows that, in both movies and wrestling, the line between reality and play-acting may be less clear than we assume.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • The Wrestler runs on what are admittedly pretty traditional lines for a sports film, yet runs on them with exhilarating speed and attack. I was waiting for a cop-out ending, but it never arrived.

    Peter Bradshaw — Guardian [UK]

  • It's no Raging Bull, more like Rocky shot with a handheld camera. But Rourke's wounded tough guy is undeniably captivating. He smacks you in the gut and wrenches your heart.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Imagining someone other than the beatifically battered Mickey Rourke in the title role of The Wrestler would be like picturing someone other than John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.

    John Anderson — Washington Post

  • The Wrestler is about the seductions of superficiality and the dull ache of living beyond one's moment. It stares with compassion at the man pinned on the mat and wonders how he'll ever get out of this one.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • Present in every scene, if not each shot, Rourke gives a tremendously physical performance that The Wrestler essentially exists to document.

    J. Hoberman — Village Voice

  • Rourke and Tomei bring a tender, lived-in honesty to their sad roles.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • Predictable as it is, this sad, strong beast of a film keeps us pinned to the mat with the strength of its compassion and the overpowering force of its central performance.

    Amy Biancolli — Houston Chronicle

  • The movie presses too hard and too often, but the performances are strong enough to withstand the melodramatic impulses, and the themes of isolation and self-destructiveness are too sharply realized to be trivialized.

    Tom Maurstad — Dallas Morning News

  • The Wrestler has the intimacy of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. No stunt men were harmed -- or used -- in the fight sequences. But the drama makes for vibrant art.

    Lisa Kennedy — Denver Post

  • This is a case where an actor makes the difference.

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • What Rourke offers us, in short, is not just a comeback performance but something much rarer: a rounded, raddled portrait of a good man.

    Anthony Lane — New Yorker

  • Mickey Rourke plays the battered, broke, lonely hero, Randy ('The Ram') Robinson. This is the performance of his lifetime, will win him a nomination, may win him the Oscar.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • It is a pleasure to see Rourke finesse this amalgamation of The Champ, Marty, Rocky and a dozen other movies to his supreme advantage.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • The famously downbeat Aronofsky captures the grimy texture of life at the bummed-out bottom of the wrestling circuit, but the center of the movie is Rourke's unimpeachable performance as a man who exults in self-punishment.

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • If this ragged but near-brilliant movie is about a guy trying to resurrect his career, so too is the performance at its heart.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • The Wrestler is strong, confident filmmaking. It shows you everything you need to know, and never whispers in your ear what you're supposed to feel about it.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • With uncommon intelligence and brutal honesty, The Wrestler examines the cost, and need, of battle.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

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