Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man is now one of my favourite films! I first saw it in October last year on the plane back from Sydney ... unfortunately the trip was shorter than the film, so I never got to find out what happened - until this week.
  • It's a story that appeals to men as well as women - men (well, me anyway) are inspired by Jimmy's resoluteness and love for his family, and the violence is kinda exciting; meanwhile it has some essential chick-flick elements - love story, etc.

  • In Skip Press' Hollywood Writers' Discussion Group, Skip suggested that while it was a story with a happy ending the visual language never quite got out of the depression. The dull greens and greys filled the screen till the end. While I loved the visual look and feel, I've got to agree.

  • Having said that, I can't figure out why this film wasn't as popular as it should've been. Sure, Russell Crowe's phone-throwing antics may have put people off, but are movie-goers really that fickle? I don't like what I know of Russell Crowe as a person, but I am a big fan of his acting. Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander ... all great films, all thanks to him.

  • A wonderful portrayal of marriage and family here. Made me nostalgic for an era when men were men and women were women, and those roles were clearly understood and defined. That's not to say it wasn't restrictive, and some people were forced to be something they didn't really feel they were inside, but it gave some sort of security and sense of purpose which is really missing. It gave men especially a sense of honour and nowhere is this seen more than in Braddock's (Crowe's) attitude towards providing for his family ... ideally through work, but also through asking for help. Welfare is seen as an absolute last resort, and even then he pays it back.

  • Wonderful realisation of what each fight was really about - through some very skilful editing by Daniel P Handley and Mike Hill. The opponent was poverty, and each punch represented Braddock's struggle to do something to change their situation. It's a struggle for control in the face of helplessness, and this story really communicated that.

  • Cinderella Man addresses mens' deepest fear: failure. And also the difference between men and women. Mae (Renee Zellweger) wants Jimmy to stop, to avoid risk, to be safe. Yet to ask him to do so deprives him of the very thing he needs to win - her support. Beautifully played out.

  • Great teamups in this: obviously Crowe and Zellweger, but also fantastic chemistry and very funny scenes between Crowe and Paul Giamatti, who played Braddock's manager Joe Gould.
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