#wrestler #movie #Mickey-Rourke #Marisa-Tomei
Those who think that wrestling is fake can stop reading now. So can the ones who think professional wrestlers aren’t real athletes, but that race car drivers are. The Wrestler is a film about an aging wrestling icon and his battle to make the right choices concerning, love, family, romance, and happiness.
Randy the Ram, played perfectly by Mickey Rourke, was big before wrestling was a multimillion-dollar industry like it is nowadays. He seems to have been one of those admired cult icons on many a teenage boy’s walls. One of those on some popular independent circuit who probably didn’t care about million dollar contracts. Not that there were that many to choose from in the 1980s, when Randy’s stock must have been at its highest.
The film has a documentary feel when it portrays the promotion, the training, and the interaction between the wrestlers. It’s a glimpse into what we seem to know about them. But it shows how much respect there is in the locker room, even amongst the biggest villains and heroes. Yes, it’s rigged. Yes, it’s acting. But mostly, The Wrestler proves that these are tough and talented athletes that make proessional wrestling into the sport it is. By revealing all this, the film lets us focus on the character of the protagonist.
Randy is someone down on his luck. There are 2 people he cares for — his girlfriend (Marisa Tomei giving a brilliant performance as an aging stripper, yet very grounded ) and his semi-estranged daughter, played stiffly by Evan Rachel Wood. The girlfriend is the only positive influence in Randy’s life, giving him the courage to approach his daughter and her girlfriend.
Coney Island in the winter looks surreal, still, almost gothic. And the director uses it as the chilly and heart-warming backdrop of Randy shows his most vulnerable human side to his daughter.
Randy is a potentially tragic anti-hero who has always been too scared to face his fear. But when you see the end being much nearer than the beginning, there comes a time to face your demons, even if chances are they’ll kill you at the end. Although we don’t know if he becomes a true tragic hero, we are happy for Randy because he has done it his way.
There is also some black comedy in the movie. Randy, forced to retire due to a heart problem, works at a deli counter in a supermarket. An old lady is never satisfied with the size of her cuts. Randy eventually gets mad and winds up cutting his fingers in the cold cut machine. Lots of blood, but no real damage done. This is a pivotal scene that allows the hero to come to an epiphany.
Battered, bruised, and beaten by life, our modern-day matinee idol doesn’t fail to please us. It turns out better than a WWE storyline.
A must see film. On my top 10 list.