As a big fan of NYC native Melissa Leo – since back in the “Homicide: Life on the Streets” days, this review of “The Fighter” by Patriot Ledger’s Al Alexander strikes a positive cord. While he has a mistaken “fact” or two – all the sisters didn’t play themselves – it’s his take on Leo’s portrayal of Alice Ward that has me looking forward to the movie:
But it’s Alice, played by the outstanding Melissa Leo, who rules the roost from under a short platinum bob. Leo, resurrecting her pitch-perfect Bawston accent from “The Contender,” delivers her most balls-to-the-walls performance yet. You can tell she’s having a blast, too, ordering people around like Patton and waging war on anyone, especially boxing promoters, trying to lure her Micky away from the family.
Every time Leo is onscreen, “The Fighter” comes deliriously alive and unpredictable, as her Alice captivates you with a combination of attitude and moxie befitting a chain-smoking force of nature in a skin-tight mini-skirt.
Leo is particularly strong when she goes toe-to-toe with Amy Adams as Micky’s new uppity, “college educated” bartender girlfriend, Charlene, who is unafraid of anyone, including Alice. Listening to them trade subtle insults and backhanded compliments are the comedic highlight of a movie that runs the gamut of emotions.
For another great Melissa Leo character portrayal – check out Frozen River . She should have won an Oscar for this awarding-winning performance back in 2008. Maybe her time has come with Alice Ward. Stay tuned.