You may be drawn to The Fighter for its star former hunky Calvin Klein underwear wearer Mark Walberg. Yes – we do get to see Marky Mark shirtless essentially 70% of the movie, playing, training and fighting as boxer “Irish” Micky Ward. However, his character is so emotionally withdrawn, demure and – at some points – almost “slow” that Walberg nor Ward are truly the firecracker characters that hook you into loving The Fighter. Who does, then? The superbly fine, sassy, ginger bar-brass chick Amy Adams. You may remember her from Disney’s Enchanted or quaintly as Julie Powell in Julie & Julia. Well trash those characters from your mind, because Amy Adams is true grit here: hard edge, take-no-shit & “I will mess up your face” fantastic . Honestly, I LOVE her here.  To the point of being more thrilled being in her corner routing for her rather than Walberg’s Mickey Ward. Another outstanding character in The Fighter’s female “one-two” punch is the dolled up in 80’s glam Melissa Leo. Here, Leo (as Alice Ward) mothers a tough-street Massachusetts family of 7 girls and two boys, coupled with being Mickey’s bookie. Playing matriarchal favouristism, Leo polarizes you into feeling spiteful hatred for her ignorance, but also sorrow for her calcified backbone blindness in failing to recognize Mickey’s true pains and desires.
TKO’ing for the Fighter is Christian Bale. Not since The Machinist have we experienced Bale so gaunt, mummified and painfully moving. Playing ex-boxer Dick “Dicky” Eklund, his family becomes crack-house squatters, shunning Micky himself. Faking Mickey out into believing he’s looking out for him as his mentor & teacher, Bale’s Dickey is additively sad to watch. Not only Bale, but also Leo and especially Adams deserve winning the Oscars each of them will be nominated for. Throw Walberg back in here as a somber muse to the high jinks of Adam’s, Bale’s and Leo’s over-the-top characters, it definitely promotes a successful ensemble film.
David O. Russell – known for soliciting furious Youtube worthy outbursts from his actors (see Lily Tomlin’s love for him here – authentically recreates the true life light-weight tour-de-force of Micky Ward. Inserting real life footage of Micky’s fights, along with capturing a hand-held camera, 80’s watch-from-your-sofa spectator sport feel, O. Russell’s direction is inspiring in-and-of itself.