The Wrestler (2008)
Critic Consensus: Mickey Rourke gives a performance for the ages in The Wrestler, a richly affecting, heart-wrenching yet ultimately rewarding drama.
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as Randy Robinson
as The Ayatollah
as Nick Volpe
as Scott Brumberg
as Tommy Rotten
as Lex Lethal
as Necro Butcher
as Romeo Roselli
as Admissions Desk Woman
as Larry Cohen
as The Legend Johnny Valiant
as Ron 'The Truth' Killings
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Critic Reviews for The Wrestler
Who better than Rourke to sell the idea of a battered, yet proud pugilist in search of redemption?
It's a wonderful, career-reviving performance, and you can't imagine the movie without him. Welcome back, Mickey.
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.
Aronofsky directs with unfussy candour, alternating between the intensity of the wrestling and the drabness of Randy's 'real' life.
The weakness of Aronofsky's film is that these various sentimental crises are framed with as much subtlety as Randy's wildly overdue heart attack. The film lurches into a predictable panic about dying alone.
Audience Reviews for The Wrestler
Possibly the most beautifully filmed work I have seen---the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are excellent--they give flawless performances. Aronofsky redeems himself after the failure that was The Fountain with a raw, captivating story that foreshadows his 2010 masterpiece Black Swan. The Wrestler is at times beautiful, at times disheartening, and at other times--as in the style of Aronofsky--thrilling and disillusioned in its portrayal of the destruction of the human spirit. In the end, The Wrestler is a film that must be experienced, one that captured my heart. I can honestly say that I loved it--every moment.
20 years after his hay day, Randy "The Ram" is still trying to nurse his broken body through the independent wrestling circuit when he suffers a heart attack that threatens his career. Maybe because it's because I'm English, or maybe because I don't have wheels on my home, I approached this film with a certain trepidation because I have absolutely no interest in wrestling, or sports movies in general.The plot is very much in the same vein as one of the million+ corny true life TV movies out there, but I must admit this film did win me over, basically for Mickey Rourke's incredibly honest performance for which he obviously drew on his own experiences as a professional boxer. It is the anti-sports movie, where instead of a small town guy making good, it is the story of a man who begins at the top and slowly descends into obscurity. It's a film about the effects of age, as his own failing body and mind gradually strips him of everything that made him feel special and worthy. For this reason, I think younger audiences may find it difficult to relate to the character, but Rourke is quite brilliant and if you like your 80s cock rock, you'll be in hair metal heaven.
Mickey Rourke's Wrestler performance is already one of the outstanding, iconic acting jobs of the last few decades, one of the most convincing acting jobs I've ever seen. It actually made me feel like watching a documentary at times, forgetting I am watching Rourke play a role. Aronofsky's directing and the camera work adds to that impression. We often follow the character through his locations, getting a very real feeling of the surroundings. While there are a few interesting looks behind the curtain of pro wrestling, that's not really what this film is about. It's a close look at a man struggling in life, being no longer able to do what he likes to do best. The fact that he is a decent human being, deserves respect and treats others likewise doesn't make his failing easier to watch. The realistic feeling and the outstanding acting performances still make us watch and care. Thankfully, the ending is somewhat open and does not offer the most obvious solution. Impressing, sad and touching.
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