Cinderella Man – movie review

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Cinderella Man is the story of depression era boxer James J. Braddock played by Russell Crowe. In the late 1920’s, Braddock was a title contender living in comfort if not richness. After a loss in a title fight and nagging injuries, Braddock became a washed up boxer. The market crash left his investments worthless and his family destitute.

In the middle of the depression, Braddock got a second chance. After stepping into a high profile fight, Braddock got an unexpected chance to revive his boxing career and try for another title shot.

While boxing is a central point of the movie, the story really is about Braddock’s struggle to provide for his family during the depression and the problems they face as he has difficulty finding work when there are not enough jobs. At the same time, feeling as if he has failed his family, he wants to earn back their pride in him.

Renee Zellweger plays Braddock’s wife Mae who is torn between needing the money provided by boxing and the desire for her husband to be safe.

Crowe and Zellweger work well together on screen. They portray a couple who are deeply committed in their marriage and to their family. The movie depends on this relationship for its success. It is the catalyst for Braddock’s return to the ring and emotionally involves the audience in his story.

Honeybun commented this is a movie that has everything. She said, “it made me laugh and cry and even like boxing.�

The movie is rated PG-13 for some brutal boxing scenes. There are a couple times the movie seems formulaic such as an obligatory training scene with Braddock and a speed bag (reminiscent of Rocky movies). Honeybun also pointed out that Crowe had difficulty maintaining his Jersey accent throughout the film.

Even though centered on Braddock’s boxing come back, the movie succeeds on its story of James and Mae. This is a movie couples will enjoy. Best movie yet this year.

3 ½ stars