I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cinderella Man (2005)

Jim Braddock, (Russell Crowe) a boxer, is doing well at the beginning of the film. But then, the Great Depression takes its toll on him and his family. A broken hand keeps him out of the ring for awhile. He's reduced to begging for work at the docks to provide for his wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) and their three kids. Then his fast-talking manager, Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti), gets him another fight. Braddock is expected to lose, because he is considered to be washed up.

The plot focuses mainly on Braddock's struggle to keep his family together during tough economic times. Braddock is shown as a proud family man, a regular guy who just wants his kids to have a little more than he did. His wife never attends his matches in person, because she can't take seeing her husband get hit. Yet, she supports his decision to fight. As Braddock moves up in the ranks, his struggle brings hope to his family, and others as well.

There was a real Jim Braddock, who was a boxing champion in the 1930's. He eventually retired from boxing after losing to Joe Louis. The movie covers events leading up to a defining fight against Max Baer (Craig Bierko). There are some inaccuracies in the film. For example, Baer is made out to be a out-and-out villian, when he wasn't that bad. Otherwise, this is one of the better boxing-themed movies.

Mr. Crowe won an Oscar for his performance in Gladiator (2000). Mr. Giamatti was an odious radio executive in Private Parts (1997). Ms. Zellweger was the lead in Bridget Jones Diary (2001). Boxing fans will recognize the older man playing one of Braddock's corner men during the fights. It's Boxing Hall of Famer Angelo Dundee, the man who trained Muhammad Ali.

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