I watched the Wrestler last night and wanted to talk about it while it's fresh on my mind. First of all, the movie is GREAT, maybe one of the best I've EVER seen. It's so gripping, tender, real, emotional, sad...I can't say enough about it. I totally see why Mickey Rourke was nominated for an Academy Award. His performance didn't feel like a performance at all, but rather the audience peeking in on his life and watching. Incredible.
The movie feels like an Indie film from the jump. It's shot in way that it feels like a documentary, rather than a scripted movie and that's what sets the movie apart. It's an intimate tale of a man who seems to be clinging on to the only thing he knows...wrestling. However, this isn't a movie about wrestling, it's about someone who's identity and place in the world is challenged and how he copes with it.
Randy, The Ram, has been a wrestler his whole life. We meet him at a time when he is broken, washed up and is wrestling for a small amount of money in small, local arenas. We watch Randy go from being remembered and admired in the arena, to sleeping in his van some nights because he can't pay for the rent on his trailer. He goes from wrestling by night and working at a deli in the daytime. He is a lonely man who seeks the friendship of a stripper, played by Marissa Tomei, who also seems to be putting on a facade for the world.
I was worried when I'd heard about the movie that the stripper portion would be cheesy. Not that it isn't already. Anyone remember Showgirls? Ugh. Her performance, which was also nomintaed, was anything but sterotypical. Yes, she's trying to make her way taking off her clothes, but we find she also has trouble balancing her "stage" identity and her real one. She isn't the young beauty she once was and she is also up against, younger competition. You can't help but feel a sense of sadness that Randy is essentially buying her attentions and quite possibly mistakes it for something real.
Evan Rachel Wood plays Randy's daughter who he has neglected since a young age. He wants a relationship with her, but is it too little too late? Your heart can't help but break for this man, even though he chose his life, you see how alone in the world he is and you root for him. Ugh.
I won't spoil the movie, but I have to tell you that I LOVED it. The subtle parallels between the characters lives is refreshing and something I didn't really pick up on until it was over. It isn't cookie cutter and all doesn't go as one might imagine. I love the direction and cinematography, it provides a different level of perspective than we're use to seeing. I have to admit, Mickey Rourke's face sometimes scares me with all of the plastic surgery he's had done, but the role fit him perfectly. Marissa's performance was also great. She could have went very over the top with her character, but keeps it simple, yet complex and that is what I loved about it. It's the best movie I've seen in a very long time. Oh and the ending...sigh. I won't give it away, but you MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST see it! It's soooo very good. You will never forget it.
oh and p.s. the Bruce Springsteen song doesn't play until the credits, but it's also stellar. ;) Check out the song and scenes here:
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