This is another one of the main films that I intended to finally see during this DailyView. Because of its length, I had to find the proper time to fit it into the schedule. Today was the day for Cinderella Man, the boxing biopic from director Ron Howard to make the list.
The movie tells the true story of James Braddock (Russell Crowe), a washed up boxer who suddenly found his left hand and made a remarkable return to the squared circle, taking him right up to a match for the heavyweight championship of the world.
The film starts with Jimmy breaking his hand and trying to get through a match by avoiding using it. He never had a left hand punch so it turned the match into one that got thrown out as a no contest. Jimmy had his license revoked and he settled in to dock work to try and feed his family, consisting his wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) and his three children. The work on the dock was hard and dangerous and people struggled to try and live.
An unexpected match, filling in for another boxer, started the come back of a century. Braddock’s left hand, strengthen by his dock work, was suddenly a weapon and Braddock started to overcome the odds.
This comeback brought him right up to the world champion, Max Baer (Craig Bierko), a feared and powerful striker who had killed two men in the ring.
Cinderella Man had some of the best choreographed boxing of any boxing movie. It was right up there with the level of any Rocky or Creed movies. There was a realness, a feel of grit among the fighters that took it to another level.
Paul Giamatti received an Oscar nomination for his role of Joe Gould, Jimmy’s corner man, trainer and friend. Giamatti was special in this film, taking a role that could easily be considered cliché and brought a life to it.
The Great Depression era is shown in all of its problems in the film. You believe that you are in this location and that the situation is as bad as it seemed. The reemergence of James Braddock is shown to provide the people of the land inspiration and allowed them to be able to root for an underdog. It gave the people hope that with determination and heart, any obstacle could be overcome, a message that they desperately wanted to cling to during this time.
Cinderella Man was an outstanding film and one of Ron Howard’s best efforts.