As "The Wrestler" approaches its ten-year anniversary this December, it is still a remarkable film to watch.
Darren Aronofsky, the director, takes us through the life of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, played by Mickey Rourke. He has been a famous independent wrestler throughout the United States since the 1980s. "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" by Quiet Riot leads him to the ring along with his long, tanned blonde hair and fake tan.
Like many wrestlers, his image has stayed the same for some time. He is still trying to hang on to his fame by wrestling even if he is well past his prime.
After a grueling hardcore match that included glass, staple guns, and blade jobs, he is in really bad shape and suffers a heart attack. He then searches for life after wrestling. He tries to create a romance with stripper, Cassidy/Pam, played by Marisa Tomei, who much like "The Ram" is past her prime and struggling to find customers.
He also tries to reconnect with his daughter, Stephanie, played by Evan Rachel Wood, who he had abandoned at a young age. Robinson struggles with being out of the spotlight. He goes back to old habits and just seems to screw everything up in his life. His last resort is to go against the doctors' wishes and get back in the ring. He knows he could probably die, but he has nothing else to lose and wants to do what he enjoys, no matter what anyone says to him.
The movie is a great spotlight for Rourke to shine. He has struggled through many problems in his life including getting arrested for domestic abuse and DUI. Just like "The Ram" in this movie, he had to pull himself back up by meeting with psychiatrists and relying on his Catholic faith. He put himself through the wringer in this one. He added 35 pounds of muscle and had to learn how to do basic wrestling moves in the ring. He did have some experience in combat sports as he was a professional boxer in the 1990s. This was a phenomenal acting performance that won him a Golden Globe in 2009. Unfortunately, he was snubbed of the Academy Award by Sean Penn for his role in "Milk." Rourke really made you believe that he was going through this struggle and is the reason why this movie is so great.
I would recommend this movie to anybody, even if you are not a wrestling fan. There are many sports movies that have created a strong connection to people. "The Blind Side," the "Rocky" movies, and "The Sandlot," are examples of beloved sports movies. Though this might not have the biggest fan base, I would say this is way better than those movies. It is up there with one of the best sports movies ever. It shows Robinson's peak of fame and how many fans he has accumulated over the years. It shows his downfall with the heart attack. It shows his last ditch efforts to try and make his personal life successful. It is truly a great film, and should be enjoyed by all.