A powerful portrait of a battered dreamer, ex-professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke), who despite himself and the odds stacked against him, lives to be a hero once again in the only place he considers home -- inside the ring.
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The Wrestler is one of my all-time favorite movies. Gritty, realistic, and heartbreaking: It feels like real life, where you are never deprived of the consequences of your decisions. It is reminiscent of some of the great movies of the 1970's. Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as an over-the-hill professional wrestler. He was absolutely robbed of the Academy Award for Best Actor that year. Marissa Tomei is also excellent as his over-the-hill stripper would-be girlfriend. Darren Aronofsky does a masterful job of directing, and this is his best film (Black Swan is also excellent). If you like superhero fantasy and syrupy happy endings, this is NOT the film for you. But if you like great realistic, emotional films about life and truth, see The Wrestler.
One of my FAVORITES of all time. If you love films about LOST SOULS and UNDERDOGS The Wrestler is for you. You can’t help but fall in love with Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke). A washed up professional wrestler still trying to make one last go of it before his time clock runs out. LITERALLY. Randy is well aware he's in bad health (after suffering a heart attack). He's only got a few more iconic "RAM JAMS" left in him. This movie comes as close to what REAL professional wrestling is all about more than any ever attempted.
Marissa Tomei plays Cassidy, an aging knockout stripper. Randy frequents Cassidy's strip club. Both are quirky, but good people earning minimal amounts of money the hard way. They make a nice couple. Tomei's performance is arguably the BEST she's ever given. When he's not wrestling, Randy works part time at a local grocery-deli store. He and the manger exchange some funny dialogue. The worst part of the script surrounds Randy's estranged daughter (Stephanie) played by Evan Rachel Wood. Her role wasn't enticing at all. If anything, it derailed the film at times. Director Darren Aronofsky could have easily omitted Wood's role.
The entire film was shot on a shoestring budget in a little over 30 days. Most of it in NJ.....using pro wrestlers, locals and even some of Aronofsky's kinfolk. Why Mickey Rourke did not win BEST ACTOR at the ACADEMY AWARDS, as well Tomei for BEST ACTRESS was a disgrace. Hollywood is all politics and they apparently don’t care for simple stories. The Wrestler is one of the 20 GREATEST MOVIES ever made.
as in entertainment wrestling, who is struggling to hang on to his career at a point where it has damaged his body and paying very little.
He's lonely, has no one except a stripper at a club that he's friendly with (strong performance by Marisa Tomei, whose body looks amazing) and an estranged daughter.
Although the wrestling is a performance, it involves a lot of injuries. Building and maintaining the muscular physics is something he takes a lot of steroids for. Much of what he earns goes back into maintenance.
He lives for the waning fame. He loves the attention of the crowd.
When he has a heart attack and finds out that he cannot survive unless he gives up wrestling, he tries to start life over, including developing a relationship with his daughter and Tomei's character and getting a different job.
The issue in this film is whether he can live without being the famous wrestler. .
Picked this up after a typical conversation with a co-worker where we discuss various movies, comics, wrestling etc, etc. Pretty sure it was one regarding Marisa Tomei and how we both didn't like her as Aunt May in Spider-Man. He recommended this movie and was surprised I had never seen it although I was aware of it and how it was supposed to be a good one. Anyways, the movie didn't disappoint, was a highly enjoyable journey.
-1 star for old school digital disc and not a UV code. Minor detail and probably harsh to knock the stars for it considering it was released before UV, but the digital code is a big thing for me.
This is more than just a story about a wrestler. I found this story moving on so many levels, but mainly came away with such profound sadness after watching this. Most of us humans are pretty unremarkable, really. We struggle to come to terms with our choices. In mid-life, sometimes the sum of our choices bring us to a lonely place. I thought the ending showed courage on the main character's part. He had one thing - wrestling. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it so I'll leave it at that. The writers/director did a great job in bringing out the best in Mickey Rourke, whom I adore, and I felt such hope for him throughout the movie. You really want to see him "win" outside of the ring.
This is an excellent movie (done in the style of cinema verite) about a pro wrestler past his prime. It gives insight into the unseen part of the pro wrestling world and the weird and mundane lives of people who live it, all while following the story line of the Mickey Rourke character and his attempts to get his life, health, family relations, and other parts of his life in order. It is acted spectacularly by Rourke who is totally believable in the role. He was nominated for an Academy Award for this performance. This is a must see, thought it is several years out at this point, so no rush.
I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen it but I'm not even into all that wrestling crap but I liked this movie. It showed what happened behind the scenes and it was an interest watch that I highly recommend!
I judge movies based on the emotion it leaves you with. I myself can handle the sad the happy and the honorable. Meloncolly can effect other people differently. This is an ugly realistic take on a past his prime star wrestler trying to make a living. It's dark, dirty and sad. Not to say there are no happy or funny moments in it. I've watched wrestling most of my life. But don't feel you need to be a fan to understand the perspective. Look at it as a movie about life. But would not recommend to people with sever depression issues.
5.0 out of 5 starsDoes for Wrestling what Rocky Does for Boxing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2020
Being a big wrestling fan I absolutely love this movie and feel like this should have done to wrestling what Rocky did for boxing. It's depressing but man it is such a great story from Robert Siegel, is directed excellently by Darren Aronofsky and the performances all around are great too. Mickey Rourke brings his A-Game here; I honestly believe he should have won Best Actor at the Oscars for this because he simply IS Randy "The Ram" Robinson in this movie. And it has a great soundtrack to boot. As a wrestling fan this is definately a must watch, but I'd reccomend this movie to any movie fan who just loves a great story.
4.0 out of 5 starsTragic and poignant - is that really Mickey Rourke?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2013
Mickey Rourke may be an unusual choice for a leading man these days, but, upon watching The Wrestler, it was hard to imagine the film with anyone else.
He plays a `burned out' wrestler whose glory days have long since passed him by. He lives in a trailer, works part-time at a local supermarket and barely sees his daughter. We watch as he tries desperately to form relationships and regain his career. Like people said that The Man Who Fell to Earth was basically about David Bowie playing a - slightly warped - version of himself, The Wrestler is effectively Mickey Rourke. He's seen his best - acting - days and is trying to climb back up the ladder - the hard way.
If you're not a fan of `professional' wrestling, don't worry. The actual `ring time' makes up about 12 minutes of a 1 hour 40 minutes film. And, what grappling there is, only proves the point that it's all fake and one big show for the people.
There's little to laugh at here. It's a sad tale of someone who has had a taste of the big life and lost it. Now he'll do anything to get it back. It's definitely not a feel-good movie. If you want something tragically poignant, where you root and feel sorry for the `hero' all at the same time, try this. Mickey Rourke is more than just muscles.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2013
Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Rourke) is a renowned wrestler, a show stealer. But one night he is forced to retire and starts to look at his life in a different light.
Being a huge fan of the American wrestling entertainment such as WWE and TNA I looked forward to seeing how wrestling was portrayed in this film. But I was given so much more. This is a strong passionate drama that will make you laugh, cry and stand up and cheer. And there are two reasons why: Mickey Rourke and Darren Aronofsky.
Much was made of this film being Mickey Rourke's big come back after all he has been through over the years. This is a film that really shows his masculinity, his strength but combined with an underlining sentimentality and a deep internal struggle brings about an Oscar nominated performance.
The Ram is a hero. The wonderful opening credits show a montage of the wrestler at the top of his game, showcasing his talents and being the man in that era. As the film progresses we can see how the character changes through highs at independent events to the lows with his family life. Ram is an inspiration through strong will and a determination to make everything right for his family and for himself. The way he portrays himself to his neighbours, and the choices in language all collate into a fantastic person, that is always a joy to watch.
Aronofsky's writing chooses to follow Rourke's character from start to finish and his choices of including other interests such as strippers, family, wrestling, drug smuggling and food service jobs all mix to make a believable, almost relaxing story. Everything flows smoothly with the excitement of the wrestling matches to the heavy dramatic scenes between father and daughter to the tense love scenarios.
The film has a real independent feel. There is no glitz and glamour, everything is portrayed as run down and difficult living environments. Ram's home is shabby, his workplace is stressful but his real life lies in the ring. Aronofsky's close ups are great but his scenery shots are even better.
The wrestling matches are the highlights of this 2008 picture. Being a fan of wrestling I enjoyed seeing how the independent scene was worked, how each wrestler interacted with each other behind the curtains and seeing how brutal some of the `weapons' used were. The brutality and execution from all the actors and the crowd worked wonders.
Given Ram's life and everything he has been put through it is inspiring to see a person give everything into something they enjoy doing and through Rourke's strong dynamic performance and the directional master class of Aronofsky, this is a great drama that is definitely worth checking out.
4.0 out of 5 starsa sad reality check of what becomes of our heroes
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2012
Mickey Rourke is absolutely brilliant but be warned this is not a feel good movie, it is a realistic look behind the curtain of the professional wrestling world. The story of Randy 'The Ram' Robinson(Rourke)though fictional mirrors the lives of many of the 80's wrestling superstars dealing with painkiller and other drug addictions and a seperation from the outside world. Once a superstar and all time great of pro wrestling, Randy the now aged and an old man is now wrestling in school gyms for little pay earning just enough to scrape by in life, just a shaddow of his former self and sold out arenas of his path, but wrestling is all he knows. The Wrestler is a reminder that the larger than life wrestling heroes from our child hood are human who have often sacrificed all they have to be left with nothing but hurt and pain and shattered relationships from a life constantly on the road. Marisa Tomei's part is not to be understated, she plays Randy's regular stripper who he has developed some what of a weird bond through many years of being a customer, Like Randy Marisa's charactor is also aging and has her best years behind her. Sadly Randy's bond with his stripper is essentially the only functioning relationship in his life seeing as his daughter hates him Don't watch this if your wanting a Rocky style feel good story, this is a sad movie but is worth the journy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2009
`The Wrestler' is the film that has catapulted Mickey Rourke back into the limelight and with good reason. It is pretty obvious from the get go that we are in for a great performance. Following a `has been' wrestler who tries to maintain his former glory in various weekend bouts, this film paints quite a sad picture at times. Rourke plays the part excellently where you can't help but like the main character despite obvious flaws. The sub plot where he falls in love with an aged stripper, and tries to date her, mirrors his own physical demise amongst younger, more athletic and often more extreme wrestlers. This film may mean more if you know of the big eighties and nineties wrestlers, but to be honest this is a film about one mans struggle to keep doing the thing he loves and find some meaning in his life and the wrestling theme is merely a vehicle for that. The final scene is actually quite touching and you are left impressed by the acting from all involved throughout the film. This film was reminiscent of the Rocky films (especially Rocky Balboa), due to the run down locations and style of direction and it easily deserves a place up there with other great sporting themed films from the past. A solid effort from all involved and well worth a watch.
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