Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CINDERELLA MAN
Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

"One man's extraordinary fight to save the family he loved."

James J. Braddock

Probably still inspired by the euphoric win of Manny Pacquiao over Erik Morales, I picked out this movie from the rental shop despite my aversion towards boxing. So I'm glad it didn't disappoint me at all. The story of a down on his luck boxer during the Depression era in America is truly inspirational. Everything is authentically portrayed from the wardrobe, the vehicles to the squalid living conditions during that harsh period in America's history. We witness how Braddock and his family fall on hard times after he lost all of his earnings in the plunge of the stock market. His struggle to get job shifts at the shipward. His complete devotion to his family with his wife supporting his aspirations as a boxer.
The first part of the movie is a bit dragging, since it focuses on his life outside the boxing ring. But once he is given a second chance to prove himself, the pace picks up and gets really exciting. All his fighting matches are well executed and you can't help but root for him.
Russell Crowe is perfect for this role. His rugged yet sensitive portrayal of James Braddock projects well on screen. Renee Zellweger doesn't do much but smile and pout her lips. But Paul Giamatti as Braddock's manager/handler was excellent. He is one of the most underrated actors we have around. Ron Howard's direction is flawless. It just might be one of the best boxing movies I've seen so far.

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