I saw this because it was one of the last films Robin Williams made. And I would say that if you are thinking of doing the same, don’t. It’s just not worth it.
The concept is almost good. There is a guy, Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) who is totally angry all of the time. Then he is told by his doctor’s fill-in, Dr Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) that he has a brain aneurism (true) and has ninety minutes to live (false), and he storms out, threatening to sue. So while he runs around trying to reconcile with his estranged son and distant wife and figures out how much he has messed up his life, she is trying to find him, and has his family looking for him. See, almost good. Actually, not even almost.
And the film is not even saved by the amazing cast – Robin Williams, of course, plus Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, James Earl Jones, Richard Kind… but they cannot save it. I love your low-budget type dramas and the like, but this just doesn’t work.
Oh, these films that I avoid watching because I think they are one thing, then I watch and discover with glee that they are something totally different, totally better… This is one of those guys.
The basic story, based on true events, is of two boxing brothers – Micky (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky (Christian Bale). Micky is on the up-and-up, being trained by his brother. His brother, meanwhile, is living off his one great success in the ring, and tells everyone that the camera crew that are following him are documenting his comeback. In reality, the documentary is about life on crack, as Dicky is an addict. They have a close family with a dominant mother, a submissive father and seven opinionated sisters who don’t seem to do much more than hang around the house a lot. And then in comes Charlotte (Amy Adams), a bar tender who starts a relationship with Micky and clashes with the family.
So, my preconception was that it was another boxing film and I’ve seen enough of those. Though, to be fair, there is something about boxing films that so often works. I don’t know why; I don’t like watching boxing or any of those kinds of fighting sports. (I also don’t really like watching any sport… but anyhow) This is a great film. It’s surprisingly funny but also has parts that are completely depressing. I’m not a massive fan of Christian Bale – I find him quite intense and a little scary, to be honest. But he is fabulous in this – just amazing.
The Fighter won Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Christian Bale) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Melissa Leo) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Amy Adams), Best Achievement in Directing (David O. Russell), Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington).