Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man

****

Reviewed by: John Gallagher

In 1976, we had Rocky. In 1980, we had Raging Bull. In 1987, we had Teenwolf 2. Now in 2005, we have Cinderella Man, another great boxing movie. Actually, I don't think we need Teenwolf 2 because, let's be honest, it was crap.

Cinderella Man tells the story of Jimmy J Braddock (Russell Crowe), an up and coming fighter in the mid Twenties, with an impressive undefeated record. We see him living the high life after defeating another hopeful. We see him enjoying the best that prize money can buy and then the time switches forward to 1933 and we are fours years into the Great Depression.

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Now we see the shell of a man who was once a contender, desperate for even a $50 match. We don't really find out what happened during those missing years, but know that Braddock has seen better times and that the Great Depression pretty much wiped him clean and led to his slump and eventual defeat.

He finds himself on the welfare line to support his wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) and the kids, and in the docks trying to get together some money to help pay the bills and then, with the help of his trainer (Paul Giamatti), he makes one more try for glory to get his family out of the shack that they are living in.

Cinderella Man is a true underdog story, showing how the little man can claw his way back to the top and how everything that can go wrong will go wrong on the way there. Normally, when you see someone who has money lose it, you find yourself laughing silly at their misfortunes - or maybe that's just me, cause I'm a cruel, heartless son of a bitch - but in Cinderella Man you can see that Braddock didn't deserve it and in that way his struggle makes for great viewing and a terrific story.

Director Ron Howard teams up once again with Crowe, after A Beautiful Mind, to deliver another great, potential Oscar winner (if it doesn't win something for the fight choreography, I will be screaming obscenities at the television come Oscar night).

For those who don't enjoy the sport, there's the struggle of Jim and Mae as they deal with the problems of poverty, and for those who do, there are some of the greatest bouts ever seen on the big screen. You can't help yourself when the adrenaline starts pumping, especially at the end during the fight against Max Baer (Craig Bierko).

Every punch hits home.

Reviewed on: 17 Sep 2005
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Biopic of all American working-class (boxing) hero.
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Chris ***1/2

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Bruce McGill, David Huband, Connor Price, Ariel Waller, Patrick Louis

Year: 2005

Runtime: 144 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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