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Cinderella Man (2005)

Cast: Russell Crowe, Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, more...
Director: Ron Howard, Ron Howard
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Drama, Sports Drama, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Biopics, Sports, Sports Drama
Running Time: 145 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

The true story of an athlete who achieved his greatest success against the most daunting odds of his life is brought to the screen in this historical drama. In the 1920s, James Braddock (Russell Crowe) from Bergen, NJ, was a promising contender in professional boxing; he had strength, spirit, and tenacity, but the combination of a serious hand injury and a 1929 defeat in a bout with light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a serious tailspin. As Braddock's career in the ring dried up, the Great Depression put a stake through the heart of America's economy, and Braddock found himself working at the New York docks for pitiful wages as he tried to support his wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), and three children. Desperate for money, Braddock turned to his former trainer and manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti), who was unexpectedly able to scare up a bout for him, battling John Griffin at Madison Square Garden. While conventional wisdom had it that Braddock was too old, out of shape, and out of practice to have any chance of winning, he defeated Griffin, and continued beating his opponents with a powerful left hook that had been intensified by years of punishing dock work. In a nation desperate for good news, Braddock's surprising comeback became a tonic to struggling workers and unemployed people, and all eyes were on Braddock when in 1935 he took on powerful heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko) in what was both literally and figuratively the fight of his life. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Depression Boxing by talltale December 3, 2005 - 9:33 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Exactly what any seasoned movie-goer will expect, no more no less (with one single exception), CINDERELLA MAN tells us about a depression era boxer most people won't have heard of and his rise, fall, rise and... but why spoil it? Ron Howard's feel-good film also waves the American verities back and forth in can't-miss-it fashion. The cast does what's expected, the screenplay is adequate, the boxing scenes often better-than-average, and the "look" of the film is nice, if studio set-like.

That exception? Craig Bierko as boxer Max Baer. Mr. Bierko keeps making little comebacks ("Broadway's "The Music Man" revival was one of these), lest we forget what a splendor he can be. Here's he's amazingly real, charismatic, of the time, and--given the little the film lets us know about Baer's character--surprisingly complex. Watch him move, in the ring and out. He's a treat to see, even when the movie around him is just OK.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.22)
46 Votes
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