@ the movies: Cinderella Man

Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti in Universal Pictures' Cinderella Man

Russell Crowe as Braddock with Paul Giamatti who plays Braddock's manager and trainer.

Thumbs up. Make that two thumbs up. My friend and I agree that the film was great!

Three stars out a possible four.

Based on a true story, Crowe plays James Braddock, an aging boxer injured in the ring who had to scratch out a living on the docks during the Depression. Zellweger plays his wife, Mae who exhibits love and strength as she and Braddock struggle to raise their three children during one of the most difficult times in America. Faced with poverty, Braddock does whatever he can to provide for his family. Out of the blue, he is offered a chance to return to the ring, as a publicity stunt by the promoters, where he fought to provide for his family and unexpectedly wins and became an inspiration to the downtrodden of the Depression Era. This isn't a boxing movie but rather it is a film about a life well lived that happens to have boxing in it.

Connor Price and Russell Crowe in Universal Pictures' Cinderella Man

Braddock (Crowe) with his eldest son played by Connor Price in one of the many moving scenes in the film.

Ron Howard has a gift for re-creating the atmosphere of the times and allowing his actors to fill the frame and carry the film. Like Apollo 13, he captures all the truest and best of human courage and devotion.

Renee Zellweger and Russell Crowe with director Ron Howard on the set of Universal Pictures' Cinderella Man

Lots of credit to Zellweger for her portrait of Mae, Braddock's loving and supportive wife. Though this is obviously a vehicle showcasing Crowe's talents, Zellweger is invaluable in scenes with Crowe and has a few potent scenes on her own with the children.

I was very moved and inspired by the film because it portrays good characters you can root for and point to as role models of how to live life. It is a tale of love, doing what is right and persevering through tough times.

One theme this blog has touched on a couple of times (here and here) is what is "masculine spirituality?"

We often have a picture of spirituality as some ethereal detachment from the world. I suppose that is one brand of spirituality. However, there clearly is also a rugged tenderness in the rough and tumble of daily life that exemplifies true male spirituality. This film will provide good discussion for what that looks like. I imagine some clips from the film will be used in some Sunday School lessons.

My guest and I saw the film as guests of Grace Hill Media.

Images from Yahoo! Movies production photos page.


gownforless said…
during the Depression, this is the story of James Braddock (Crowe), who takes up boxing to make money to feed his family, and ends up becoming quite famous in the process, eventually going up against champ Max Baer.