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"THE FIGHTER"
(2010) (Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale) (R)


Alcohol/Drugs Extreme
Blood/Gross Stuff Moderate
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude Extreme
Frightening/Tense Scenes Moderate
Gun/Weapons Mild
Imitative Behavior Extreme
Jump Scenes None
Music (Scary/Tense) Mild
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity Extreme
Sex/Nudity Extreme
Smoking Heavy
Tense Family Scenes Extreme
Topics to Talk About Extreme
Violence Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A boxer, who's grown up in the shadow of his older brother who was once a contender but is now a crack addict, must decide whether to hang up his gloves or keep fighting, all while having to contend with his loyal but overbearing family that's completely involved in his personal and professional life.
PLOT:
In the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, Dicky Eklund (CHRISTIAN BALE) is a boxing legend, having gone the distance long ago with none other than Sugar Ray Leonard. Now, his younger half-brother, Micky Ward (MARK WAHLBERG), is trying to follow in his prize fighter footsteps. The only problem is that those in his corner, despite their best intentions, aren't good for his career.

While Micky's dad, George (JACK McGEE) is supportive, he must take a back seat to the brothers' mom, Alice (MELISSA LEO), a strong-willed woman who serves as her son's manager but doesn't always book him against the best opponents, either for his career or health. And although local cop Sgt. Mickey O'Keefe (MICKEY O'KEEFE) helps as Micky's trainer, the boxer relies on his older brother for all of his physical training, tactics, advice and more.

The big problem, however, is that Dicky has quite a record with the local police and is now a crack addict, meaning he's always late, if he even shows up at all, for his brother's training. With a series of recent losses, Micky is ready to throw in the towel, but his new girlfriend, local bartender Charlene Fleming (AMY ADAMS), tells him he needs to get away from his family in order to succeed, putting her at odds with Dicky, Alice and her many adult daughters. With his career suddenly on an upswing, Micky must decide who he wants in his corner.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
They might if they're into movies about boxers and/or are fans of anyone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MARK WAHLBERG plays a boxer who's grown up in the shadow of his older half-brother, a locally famous pugilist. He's following in Dicky's footsteps, but has suffered a series of losses that have shaken his resolve to continue. With Charlene's support, however, he keeps at it, but finds himself torn between following her and others' advice to break away from Dicky and Alice, and his family loyalty to them. He uses strong profanity and fools around with Charlene.
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays his older brother, also a boxer who once fought Sugar Ray Leonard. He now lives off those glory days and serves as Micky's boxing manager, but is often late due to his addiction to crack and has quite a record with the local police. He uses strong profanity, drinks some, briefly smokes, and tries to get his life in order after a stint in prison.
  • AMY ADAMS plays a local bartender who starts dating Micky and advises him to get out from under his family's influence if he wants to succeed in and out of the ring. She uses strong profanity and admits to drinking a lot.
  • MELISSA LEO plays Micky and Dicky's strong-willed mom who serves as Micky's boxing manager, arranging for his bouts and such. She uses strong profanity, smokes, drinks and doesn't like Charlene sticking her nose into their family business.
  • MICKEY O'KEEFE plays a local cop who helps train Micky and is disappointed that he allows Dicky to drag him down.
  • JACK McGEE plays Micky's father who's usually forced to take a back seat to his more dominant wife, Alice, but occasionally stands up to her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 138 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is some fooling around and implied, off-screen sex (intercourse and female to male oral) occurs. Various men are seen shirtless, while varying amounts of cleavage are also seen.

    Violence consists of various boxing bouts with hard punches, while there's some hitting out of the ring and a violent run-in with the police. Some of that has bloody results, and those scenes might be unsettling to some viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is a great deal of tense family material as well as thematic elements. There's drug use (crack) and various scenes of drinking, while various characters smoke. Potentially imitative behavior is also present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from camera flashes.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy camerawork in old home movies at the beginning of the film, while there's a spin around camera shot later in the film


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Dicky smokes crack from a plastic bottle.
  • Micky, various family members and others drink in a bar where Charlene works as the bartender (and is seen drinking shots with several patrons).
  • Dicky jumps from a crack house window when his family shows up there (he's presumably high).
  • Alice has scotch while Dicky has a beer in a limo.
  • Charlene states that if she doesn't drink while she works (at a bar), "I'll f*cking kill myself."
  • Some people have beer in front of them.
  • Charlene mentions the issue of having to always get Dicky from a crack house.
  • We hear that HBO is making a movie about crack addiction and that Dicky is one of the portrayed users.
  • Dicky smokes crack from a plastic bottle.
  • Various members in Micky's family drink.
  • Micky has a beer.
  • We see Dicky going through withdrawal (from crack) in prison.
  • There's talk of crack use in an HBO documentary about that, including Dicky stating that "You do a lot of sh*t while you're high." At home, some of Micky's sisters drink beer while watching this show on TV, while Micky's ex-wife has a drink.
  • We see several beer cans on the table by Micky.
  • Some of Micky's sisters drink beer.
  • People celebrate Micky's boxing victory with beer.
  • Charlene refers to Dicky as a "junk bag."
  • Dicky goes back to his old crack house friends, and one shows various pills in his mouth, but Dicky just drops off a cake and continues on his way.
  • Dicky reminds Charlene that she works in a bar, and she admits that she drinks too much.
  • BLOOD/GROSS STUFF
  • About Micky pinning an unruly bar patron to a bar counter, Dicky jokingly tells him not to hurt his hand as it's "the one you use to wipe your ass."
  • Micky's face is bloody during a boxing match, and we then see blood-soaked bandages and other smaller cuts on his face following that. Later, we see dried blood on his face.
  • About a boxing promoter who wants Micky, a family member warns that the man will use Micky "like a piece of toilet paper."
  • Both Dicky and Micky have blood on their face following a run-in with the police.
  • Micky has some blood on his face during a match.
  • Micky has blood on his face during another match.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Dicky is always late for many things (including training Micky) due to his crack addiction.
  • Micky attacks a bar patron after the latter tells Charlene to "move that sugar ass." Micky hits and grabs that man and then pins his head hard to the counter, followed by Dicky doing the same.
  • Micky doesn't ask Charlene out on a date after saying he would, so she shows up at his place wanting to know why.
  • Micky's sisters aren't happy with Charlene influencing him and thus they gossip about her, including one saying she heard Charlene is into "three-ways," with her or another sister saying that's with other girls.
  • One of Micky's sisters refers to Charlene as a "MTV girl."
  • Dicky tries to get his girlfriend's Cambodian family and friends involved in a pyramid scheme to bankroll Micky's boxing career.
  • In what turns out to be a scam, we see a hooker on the street (in usual attire and adjusting her breasts) stop to talk to a driver who's pulled up. We then see the man apparently receiving oral sex (viewed from outside the windshield, and thus we only see him and his pleasured view). A cop car then pulls up behind that car, but it's really Dicky posing as a cop. Real cops show up moments later, causing Dicky to take off running, with them in pursuit.
  • Running from the police, Dicky punches a bouncer in the gut and then hits a cop and struggles with another before they subdue and beat him. Micky then rushes up to help, but they hit him, pin him to a car, and repeatedly bash his hand with a Billy club.
  • In the heat of that moment, Micky ignores Charlene's plea for him to stay put (rather than get involved with his brother's altercation with the police).
  • Including his latest altercation, we hear that Dicky has been arrested 27 times.
  • Despite Micky's asking her not to (over the phone), his ex-wife allows their daughter to watch an HBO documentary about crack addiction that features Dicky (she says she wants her daughter to see what kind of uncle she has).
  • Mad at George for what she thinks is betrayal, Alice throws glasses and plates at him (they crash against the wall), followed by pots and/or pans that hit George, hard.
  • Alice and her daughters drive over some trash cans to confront Charlene. They then confront Charlene and Micky, with one sister and Charlene getting into it, struggling and ending up on the porch where Charlene pummels her until they're separated, while Micky struggles with his mom and some of the sisters. Alice and the sisters then head off, driving over the trash cans again.
  • Dicky reminds Charlene that she works in a bar, is a college dropout and "your life sucks."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gross Stuff" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Running from the police, Dicky punches a bouncer in the gut and then hits a cop and struggles with another before they subdue and beat him. Micky then rushes up to help, but they hit him, pin him to a car, and repeatedly bash his hand with a Billy club.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Micky rushes to help his brother who's struck a cop, but he and/or other cops hit him, pin him to a car, and repeatedly bash his hand with a Billy club.
  • A prison guard carries a rifle.
  • Prison guards carry rifles in a later scene.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Oh f*ck it," "Half the f*cking day's gone," "F*ck you too," "Un-f*cking-believable," "What the f*ck?" "Like a f*cking silverback gorilla," "What's your f*cking problem?" "I'll f*cking kill myself" (said jokingly), "I'm sick of being a f*cking disappointment," "Whatever the f*ck that means," "Shut the f*ck up," "Are you f*cking kidding me?" "That's f*cking stupid," "You fat f*ck," "That's a f*cking lie," "Your crazy f*cking family," "F*cking right," "You didn't give a f*ck," "Fatty-f*ck-O," "Shut the f*ck up," "That's f*cking bullsh*t," "You should f*cking listen to yourself," "You're a f*cking asshole," "Otherwise, go f*ck yourself," "You f*cking did it," "You're such a f*cking c*cks*cker," "Can't remember sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "I look like sh*t," "(This stupid) Bullsh*t," "Oh sh*t," "That crazy sh*t," "Sh*t-faced," "You do a lot of sh*t while you're high," "Turn this sh*t off," "That same old sh*t," "You piece of sh*t," "You're full of sh*t," "Hasn't done d*ck," "Skank," "Are you crazy?" "Hell yeah," "Can't beat that ass, can you?" "Are you gonna just stand there and stare at my ass?" "Cheap bastard," "Move that sugar ass," "Sitting on his ass," "A hell of a fight," "Sit the hell down," "Screwed us" (nonsexual), "A hell of a lot better," "MTV girl," "Shut your mouth," "You moron," "Holy Christ," "Smelly ass," "What the hell is going on?" "He's a junk bag" and "Your life sucks."
  • Some kids might be enticed to imitate the boxing on display.
  • A woman wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • Miscellaneous people have tattoos.
  • George playfully gives "the finger" to Alice.
  • We see miscellaneous tattoos in a bar.
  • Hoping to avoid Alice finding him in a crack house, Dicky jumps out a window to a trash dumpster. He later does that again.
  • Dicky tries to get his girlfriend's Cambodian family and friends involved in a pyramid scheme to bankroll Micky's boxing career.
  • Dicky's girlfriend wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • In what turns out to be a scam, we see a hooker on the street (in usual attire and adjusting her breasts) stop to talk to a driver who's pulled up. We then see the man apparently receiving oral sex (viewed from outside the windshield, and thus we only see him and his pleasured view). A cop car then pulls up behind that car, but it's really Dicky posing as a cop. Real cops show up moments later, causing Dicky to take off running, with them in pursuit.
  • We see miscellaneous tattoos.
  • Mad at George for what she thinks is betrayal, Alice throws glasses and plates at him (they crash against the wall), followed by pots and/or pans that hit George, hard.
  • Mad that Micky will no longer use him as his trainer, Dicky punches a locker several times (followed by his young son then imitating him).
  • Dicky gives "the finger" to his brother's boxing opponent (in a photo).
  • We see a boxing fan with face paint.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 138 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 31 "s" words, 4 slang terms using male genitals ("c*cks*cker," "d*ck"), 11 asses (3 used with "hole"), 8 hells, 8 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "For Christ's sakes," 2 each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "Christ," "G-damn," "Oh God," "Oh Jesus" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a miscellaneous shirtless guy.
  • We see miscellaneous kissing, followed by Dicky kissing a woman on the street.
  • Alice shows cleavage.
  • Many scenes feature boxing and thus shirtless male opponents.
  • About Charlene in the bar where she works and is seen in a halter top (showing cleavage) and small shorts (including bent over, in close-up), George playfully asks Micky, "Can't beat that ass, can you?" Charlene then asks Micky, "Are you just gonna stand there and stare at my ass?" while a stranger comes over and tells Charlene to "move that sugar ass," prompting Micky to attack him.
  • Micky's ex-wife shows cleavage.
  • We see a young woman on top of Dicky on a couch (he's seated upright). They're making out and he has his hands on her butt in her short skirt.
  • Alice shows cleavage.
  • Some miscellaneous women show cleavage at a boxing match.
  • Charlene shows cleavage.
  • About a foreign movie they just saw, Charlene complains to Micky that there wasn't any good sex in it.
  • Micky and Charlene passionately kiss while clothed.
  • Micky's sisters aren't happy with Charlene influencing him and thus they gossip about her, including one saying she heard Charlene is into "three-ways," with her or another sister saying that's with other girls.
  • One of Micky's sisters shows cleavage.
  • In what turns out to be a scam, we see a hooker on the street (in usual attire and adjusting her breasts) stop to talk to a driver who's pulled up. We then see the man apparently receiving oral sex (viewed from outside the windshield, and thus we only see him and his pleasured view). A cop car then pulls up behind that car, but it's really Dicky posing as a cop. Real cops show up moments later, causing Dicky to take off running, with them in pursuit.
  • Charlene shows cleavage.
  • We see Micky shirtless.
  • We see Micky and Charlene in bed together, clothed and asleep. He then gets up (seen in boxers), dresses, and leaves to go work out, while she's in just a long shirt and watches him head off.
  • Micky and Charlene briefly but passionately kiss.
  • About standing up to Alice regarding Micky, George states he (referring to himself) is the one who's going to get his "balls" cut off anyway.
  • Alice shows cleavage.
  • We see Micky (clothed) slowly walking behind Charlene who's in her bra and panties. She then crawls onto a bed and seductively moves across that on all fours. We next see them kissing on the bed, with him (in boxers) groping her breasts (in a bra) and butt (in panties), but they're interrupted by his mom and sisters who show up (outside the house), with one calling Charlene a "skank."
  • Charlene shows cleavage.
  • Charlene shows cleavage in another scene.
  • We see Dicky shirtless.
  • Charlene shows cleavage.
  • At various points in the film, we see bikini clad "round" girls who walk around the ring holding up a sign indicating the number of the next round.
  • SMOKING
  • Alice smokes at least 7 times, while Dicky smokes once but is seen with unlit cigarettes in his mouth and over his ear, while he also has a pack rolled up in his sleeve. Miscellaneous smoking (including the view of a guy with an unlit cigar) also occurs.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Micky has a daughter who he sees every other weekend.
  • Micky's ex-wife isn't happy to see him when he unexpectedly shows up at her house.
  • Dicky again jumps from a window down to a trash dumpster hoping to avoid his mother, but she catches and is then disappointed in him. She stews in the car until he starts singing and charms her into forgiving him.
  • Micky isn't happy with Dicky getting into trouble once again with the police, or for that resulting in Micky getting his hand bashed by the police when he tries to come to his brother's aid.
  • Despite Micky's asking her not to (over the phone), his ex-wife allows their daughter to watch an HBO documentary about crack addiction that features Dicky (she says she wants her daughter to see what kind of uncle she has).
  • Mad at George for what she thinks is betrayal, Alice throws glasses and plates at him (they crash against the wall), followed by pots and/or pans that hit George, hard.
  • Alice and her daughters drive over some trash cans to confront Charlene. They then confront Charlene and Micky, with one sister and Charlene getting into it, struggling and ending up on the porch where Charlene pummels her until they're separated, while Micky struggles with his mom and some of the sisters. Alice and the sisters then head off, driving over the trash cans again.
  • Dicky has a young son and they're separated during the former's stint in prison.
  • Mad that Micky will no longer use him as his trainer, Dicky punches a locker several times (followed by his young son then imitating him). That news then upsets their mom.
  • While sparring, Micky purposefully hits Dicky quite hard, downing him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the real-life story.
  • Boxers and trying to make a living doing that.
  • Crack and crack addicts.
  • Having one's dreams impeded by well-intentioned but disruptive family members.
  • Micky is initially noted as a stepping stone for other boxers to fight and then continue onward and upward while he goes nowhere.
  • The comparison of a brawler and a boxer in terms of boxing styles.
  • We hear that Micky has a daughter who he sees every other weekend.
  • Micky states that he's sick of being a disappointment.
  • Including his latest altercation, we hear that Dicky has been arrested 27 times.
  • We see Dicky going through withdrawal (from crack) in prison.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Many scenes feature boxing sparring and/or matches during which various blows are delivered to the opponents' heads, arms and torso.
  • Micky attacks a bar patron after the latter tells Charlene to "move that sugar ass." Micky hits and grabs that man and then pins his head hard to the counter, followed by Dicky doing the same. As Micky walks away, we see other struggling in the bar (in passing).
  • Hoping to avoid Alice finding him in a crack house, Dicky jumps out a window to a trash dumpster. He then tries to scale a fence, but George pulls him from that and tries to punch him. That misses, but Dicky hits George with a return punch.
  • Micky has to fight a new replacement boxer in a match, a man who's 20 pounds heavier and thus pummels Micky in the ring (bloodying him).
  • Two men get into a fight in the audience while watching a boxing match.
  • Running from the police, Dicky punches a bouncer in the gut and then hits a cop and struggles with another before they subdue and beat him. Micky then rushes up to help, but they hit him, pin him to a car, and repeatedly bash his hand with a Billy club.
  • Dicky and another prisoner have to be separated over their disagreement about a TV being turned off.
  • Mad at George for what she thinks is betrayal, Alice throws glasses and plates at him (they crash against the wall), followed by pots and/or pans that hit George, hard.
  • Alice and her daughters drive over some trash cans to confront Charlene. They then confront Charlene and Micky, with one sister and Charlene getting into it, struggling and ending up on the porch where Charlene pummels her until they're separated, while Micky struggles with his mom and some of the sisters. Alice and the sisters then head off, driving over the trash cans again.
  • Micky wins a boxing match with a devastating kidney shot punch that downs his opponent.
  • Mad that Micky will no longer use him as his trainer, Dicky punches a locker several times (followed by his young son then imitating him).
  • While sparring, Micky purposefully hits Dicky quite hard, downing him.



  • Reviewed December 2, 2010 / Posted December 17, 2010

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