Cinderella Man charts the fall and then unlikely rise of Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe). A proud Irish Catholic boxer, and one time light heavyweight contender, battling to survive and keep his family together during the Great Depression. An older fighter, who many had written off, but someone who had learned to channel the fight for his family into boxing ring success, and become a symbol of hope in depression era America.
If only all fairy tales were this entertaining and inspirational. Cinderella Man is a superbly crafted film that delivers a classic underdog story, along with characters you want to root for. Made all the more powerful by its true life source material, and the incredible performances from its cast. Ron Howard once again delivers a perfectly paced movie, and writers Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman deliver the facts, with a respectable amount of spin for dramatic effect.
This movie wears every boxing movie cliché like a badge of honor. And why not? We all love an underdog story, and Cinderella Man’s true life inspirational tale deserves this kind of schmaltzy Hollywood treatment. There’s simply no better way to present a story like this. I want Thomas Newman’s beautifully rousing score to add impact as Braddock takes on his opponents. I want the emotional roller coaster in the ring, as fans, family and friends scream at their radios when their hero lands a big punch. Who cares if it’s not 100% accurate? It’s a movie, and this one honors a real life hero, and the spirit of hope he symbolized during a really tough time in the 1930’s.
If you enjoyed the first two Rocky films, you should enjoy Cinderella Man. It’s schmaltzy Hollywood movie making at its best, but never gets too cheesy. The movie is rated PG-13 as the action inside the ring can get a little intense and bloody.
The production design by Whynn Thomas, and Salvatore Totino’s photography perfectly capture the look of depression era New York City. From the Central Park ‘Hoverville’ shacks to 1930’s Manhattan and Madison Square Garden. This film is stunning, and is best enjoyed in a theater. At home a HD screening on the largest TV you have is recommended. The impact of this fantastic film will be muted on a portable sized screen.
During a fight at ‘The Garden’ with Art Lasky, Braddock takes a hard punch to the face and his mouth guard falls out. Thomas Newman’s score kicks in, and Braddock smiles a bloody smile at his opponent as he calmly picks up his guard, spits out a mouthful of blood, and puts it back in. Unfazed by the best Art Lasky could dish out, Braddock gets right back in to the action!