Madame Le Chef and I had little interest in seeing "The Fighter" because several critics had described it as a story about an aspiring boxer, "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a good guy, talented and hard working, whose career was badly mismanaged by his crackhead half brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale) and his narcissistic mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), who dotes on Dickie. It's based on real people and sounded like something that would be painful to watch. Then we read an interview with Amy Adams who plays Micky's girlfriend, Charlene Fleming, a tough, hard drinking, foul mouthed bartender who at one point gets in a fist fight, on a front porch, with several of Micky's pack of sisters.
Amy Adams, who played the sweet, naive sister-in-law in "Junebug" and the Disney princess in "Enchanted" in a punch-up! That sounded worth seeing. Plus clearly the film was not one sided. Micky had someone looking out for him and, as it turns out, more than one, and he was eventually successful.
We saw it and we're glad we did. It's an excellent movie, full of energy and dark humor, with astounding acting. Christian Bale, an actor the bureau chief has not liked in the past, gives an amazing, very physical performance as Dickie, a failed boxer whose powers of self delusion are epic but who does manage to evolve a little. Amy Adams is completely believable as someone who would take on seven sisters and Melissa Leo is horribly fascinating. Mark Wahlberg does a good job of playing a character who is quiet and non-assertive except when he's in the ring. The rest of the cast is also very good. The sisters function as a De facto Greek chorus (composed of Gorgons).
It's a vision of working class life in Lowell Massachusetts, once a 19th century industrial center, now not doing so well. Director David O. Russell shows the Ward/Ekland family and their neighborhood with all the warts. It's natural to wonder what they thought of the film when they finally saw it.