I joined dozens of early movie goers at the 11:10 a.m. showing of “The Fighter” today. The movie is fantastic. If “awesome” was part of my vocabulary, that’s also how I’d describe it. When articles began dribbling out that the movie or at least some of the actors in it were considered Academy Award contenders, I was hopeful but also suspicious that it was a lot of pre-screening hype. It wasn’t.
Christian Bale as Dick Ecklund and Melissa Leo as Alice Ecklund (the mother) have gotten most of the attention from critics and deservedly so. But Amy Adams as Charlene (the girlfriend) and Jack McGee as George Ward (McGee played Chief Gerry Reilly in the early seasons of “Rescue Me”) were also excellent as was Mark Wahlberg and Lowell’s own Micky O’Keefe (who played himself). The movie is more than a typical “underdog wins the big fight” boxing movie. It’s got that but it adds layers of complexity dealing with such issues as drug addiction, family relations (both good and bad), and the importance of “place” in our lives and tops it all with an icing of humor that helps lift the film even higher.
As for the film’s portrayal of our city, this is no “High on Crack Street.” There are drugs and drinking and prostitution and crime, but they are all depicted fairly and accurately, and most of the “place” shots of Lowell are of well-kept quiet residential neighborhoods. The city is what it is – Lowell is neither a collection of crack houses nor a gentrified artist’s enclave. It’s a mixture of many things and the movie shows that.
I see most of my movies through Netflix and it’s been a long time since I watched one in a theater but I’m certainly pleased that I saw “The Fighter” today. I suspect I’ll see it again while it’s still in the theaters and then I’ll buy the DVD and watch in even more. It’s that good a movie. Be sure to go see it.