The Fighter is an excellent movie, even though it is rife with bad language, which I tire of quickly.  However, the characters are dysfunctional enough that the language makes sense.  And the story is good–it’s based on a true story.

The main focus of The Fighteris Micky Ward and his older brother Dicky Eklund, both boxers.  Dicky’s heyday is past, although he tries to convince everyone he’s making a come-back.  What he really does, though is train Micky for his fights.  He doesn’t do a good job of it most of the time, since he has his own problems to deal with.  The brother’s mother is also part of the “team.”  She also brings them down a lot.  She’s mean and vile, and not unwilling to use her sons to get money and recognition.

Mark Walberg is wonderful as Micky Ward.  His performance is understated, solid, and yet magnificent.  Christian Bale nails the voice and essence of Dicky, who is crazy and volcanic.  Amy Adams probably forever broke the idea that she can only do innocent and sweet.  She is Charlene, Micky’s no-nonsense girlfriend.  And of course, there is Melissa Leo as Alice Ward, perhaps most famous recently for dropping the f-bomb during her Supporting Actress speech at the Oscars.  That behavior seems to be in character, if she were still playing Alice Ward.

The Fighter is an inspiring and well-shot movie for those who like sports movies, and for those who don’t.  It’s not really about the boxing.  It’s more about how a family (and friends) can work through issues and stay together, about how the human spirit cannot be held down.  It’s worth watching.