What Is 'The Fighter' About? 'The Fighter' tells the true story of Lowell, Massachusetts, boxer 'Irish' Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his complicated and emotional climb to win the world championship title. It also chronicles his relationship with his brother and trainer Dickie Ecklund (Christian Bale), a former boxer now addicted to crack, his controlling mother (Melissa Leo) and his supportive girlfriend (Amy Adams). Micky has to decide if he wants to stick with his volatile, but loyal family, or if they're only bringing him down as he makes his way to the top.
Is Christian Bale's Performance Really That Good? At the end of the movie, there's a short clip with the actual Micky Ward and Dickie Ecklund that only further proves that Bale's performance is unbelievably spot-on. He is able to capture the tragedy of the character's story but also his love for his brother -- and even, at times, becomes the comic relief of the movie. The character of Dickie's distinctive voice and mannerisms (and frail body frame) make Bale almost unrecognizable from his other movies. You won't believe this is the guy who plays Batman.
How True to the Real Story is the Film? **spoilers** The film cuts off right as Micky gets back on his feet, winning the world championship welterweight title from Shea Neary in London. In the film's epilogue, it says he went on to fight Arturo Gatti (the fights for which he is actually most famous).
In the film, the police break Micky's right hand during a fight where he is defending his degenerate brother, causing him to take a mandatory hiatus from boxing. In real life, Micky had surgery on his hand because of an injury during a boxing match. Accurately, Dickie did spend time in prison, as he does in the movie; but when he gets out Micky is already training for his big match, having come off his hiatus. In real life, it was Dickie who convinced his brother to start boxing again once he got out of prison.
Charlene, his girlfriend played by Amy Adams, was a real person, too. She later became his wife.
What Gives 'The Fighter' An R-Rating? A few times during the movie, the blood in the boxing ring is intense. There are definitely a few gasp-worthy hits but all in all, the violence isn't what makes 'The Fighter' worth an R-rating. There's one sexy scene with Micky and his girlfriend where Amy Adams wears a thong and a bra but it never goes further than kissing. The R rating is probably earned by the multiple depictions of Dickie smoking crack, which would require an explanation for a young teenager. But the movie does show the harm done by drugs in a realistic way.
How Is 'The Fighter' Different From Other "Boston" Movies? Or Boxing Movies? It's not, really. Micky is that same down-on-his-luck, stuck-in-Boston guy that Ben Affleck plays in 'The Town' and Leo DiCaprio plays in 'The Departed.' Every character has a thick Boston accent and the women either dress trashy or are trashy (with hearts of gold, though). There are tons of training scenes and fight montages as Micky makes his unlikely and unpredictable way from the bottom to the top. In that way, it's like every other boxing movie. But the performances from Bale (and even Adams) give 'The Fighter' a slight edge.