Movie Review

Film Review: The Wrestler

The Wrestler seems like the story of Randy “The Ram” Robinson aka Robin Ramzinski (Mickey Rourke), a professional wrestler, but it is actually the story of many of his brothers of the mat as well. The Wrestler is the saga many professional wrestlers have faced that were prominent, recognizable stars and household names in the mid 80’s. Some of them lived hard lives and their families and their bodies suffered as a result.

Randy dreams of his glory days, glory days attested to in the opening newspaper, poster and magazine articles and of returning to them. There are mementos of his former wealth and prestige littered throughout his van and mobile home. Now he lives in reality, a reality that could almost care less about who he used to be.

Once probably commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and selling out huge arenas across the country, The Ram has been reduced to working in a Supermarket for minimum wage and wrestling part-time on the weekends in high school auditoriums. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” Not everything in Randy’s life is a reminder of how far he has fallen in popularity, prestige and wealth. Cassidy aka Pam (Marisa Tomei) is an exotic dancer at a strip club named Cheeques and Randy has eyes for her. Over a long association, Randy and Cassidy have become friends and often talk about their lives outside of work. Cassidy’s story mirrors Randy’s in a few ways. They are both clinging to an industry that favors the young and that they should have retired from years ago. Because they have not or can’t because of economic reasons, they are forced to endure a sporadic but steadily increasing stream of reality checks. After a life altering incident following a “Hell in the Cell” caliber hardcore wrestling match, Randy reaches out to his estranged daughter, Stephanie Robinson (Evan Rachel Wood). At first resistant and wary because of his past neglect and absenteeism, Stephanie gives him a chance and begins to open up her heart to him. Though he has disappointed her all her life, there is still a part of her that wants a relationship with her dad.

Throughout The Wrestler, The Ram is constantly faced with who is versus who he was. It begins taking a toll on him, eating away at his sense of worth outside of the ring. The situation is not helped by an insulting and wise-cracking manager at the supermarket Randy works at or at
gatherings with other wrestlers that have given their bodies and youth to the sport.

Randy’s life outside of the ring is full of regret and escalating sorrow, inside the ring he is a God, someone admired and respected. His fans are the one family that is always there for him no matter what. Their the family that only sees the best in Randy and is never let down by his presence in their lives.

Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is a deft piece of human story telling, much like his Requiem for a Dream. Mickey Rourke was able to make Randy “The Ram” a real person with a tormented soul because of choices and mistakes he unintentionally keeps making in his life. He is a flawed human being unlike the film he is represented in.

Rating: 9.5/10

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

  • I’m glad you finally got to see this movie, it was pretty freaking great in my book. Darren Aronofsky is one of my all time favorite directors. I like his work so much, I was even excited when he was attatched to that rumored Robocop remake. And I’m so happy for Mickey Rourke. The guy is finally getting a second chance, and man did he take the ball and run with it. In any other year, The Wrestler would be winning all the awards that Slumdog has been winning.

    I don’t know if anyone here ever watched wrestling when they were young, or even if they still do, but I did. And that movie just reminded me of the golden years for the “sport” when it was more about the atheletes and extreme personalities than it was about insane gimmicks and sex. The days of Hogan, Piper, Flair and Savage. Great movie. Great review Filmbook!

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • I’m glad you finally got to see this movie, it was pretty freaking great in my book. Darren Aronofsky is one of my all time favorite directors. I like his work so much, I was even excited when he was attatched to that rumored Robocop remake. And I’m so happy for Mickey Rourke. The guy is finally getting a second chance, and man did he take the ball and run with it. In any other year, The Wrestler would be winning all the awards that Slumdog has been winning.

    I don’t know if anyone here ever watched wrestling when they were young, or even if they still do, but I did. And that movie just reminded me of the golden years for the “sport” when it was more about the atheletes and extreme personalities than it was about insane gimmicks and sex. The days of Hogan, Piper, Flair and Savage. Great movie. Great review Filmbook!

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • 790

    I loved this film!

  • 790

    I loved this film!

  • @Jon. I saw this film about film weeks ago actually. I just waited to post the review. You should see what review I have coming up next week.

    I seen all of Aronofsky’s films to date. I have even read the graphic novel based on his original script for The Fountain.

    He is still attached to Robocop I believe.

    “The guy is finally getting a second chance, and man did he take the ball and run with it. In any other year, The Wrestler would be winning all the awards that Slumdog has been winning.”
    Agreed.

    I miss The Ultimate Warrior from The Golden Age. The Nature Boy was still wrestling. He just retired this year after Wrestlemania.

    @790. Me too.

  • @Jon. I saw this film about film weeks ago actually. I just waited to post the review. You should see what review I have coming up next week.

    I seen all of Aronofsky’s films to date. I have even read the graphic novel based on his original script for The Fountain.

    He is still attached to Robocop I believe.

    “The guy is finally getting a second chance, and man did he take the ball and run with it. In any other year, The Wrestler would be winning all the awards that Slumdog has been winning.”
    Agreed.

    I miss The Ultimate Warrior from The Golden Age. The Nature Boy was still wrestling. He just retired this year after Wrestlemania.

    @790. Me too.

  • Really? What are you reviewing next week? Fired Up!? Friday the 13th? lol 😉

    I’ve seen all of Aronofsky’s films too, but I’ve never been able to find the GN based on The Fountain. Do you know where I can find it?

    Last I heard, things were shaky in regards to Aronofsky doing Robocop. But I really hope he stays attatched. That could be the rare remake that I’m actually excited about. I would love to see what he does with the character. Aronofsky is so good with developing strong, emotionally powerful characters, his take on Alex Murphy could be amazing.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • Really? What are you reviewing next week? Fired Up!? Friday the 13th? lol 😉

    I’ve seen all of Aronofsky’s films too, but I’ve never been able to find the GN based on The Fountain. Do you know where I can find it?

    Last I heard, things were shaky in regards to Aronofsky doing Robocop. But I really hope he stays attatched. That could be the rare remake that I’m actually excited about. I would love to see what he does with the character. Aronofsky is so good with developing strong, emotionally powerful characters, his take on Alex Murphy could be amazing.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • I loved this. I already want to see it again.

    It brought back many of my middle/high school memories of watching the Nature Boy and a young Undertaker kick butt and then me turning on the Nintendo to play Royal Rumble. Tombstone!

  • I loved this. I already want to see it again.

    It brought back many of my middle/high school memories of watching the Nature Boy and a young Undertaker kick butt and then me turning on the Nintendo to play Royal Rumble. Tombstone!

  • 790

    Aronofsky, is one of the top Directors. I would see anything he makes at this point…

    Robocop 4, Aliens Vs Predator 3. Anything,,,,

  • 790

    Aronofsky, is one of the top Directors. I would see anything he makes at this point…

    Robocop 4, Aliens Vs Predator 3. Anything,,,,

  • @Jon. Amazon has it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401200583?ie=UTF8&tag=filboodotcom-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1401200583
    I’m looking forward to what Aronofsky does with Alex Murphy as well.

    @Reel. I have seen it twice already. Wrestlemania, the stand-up arcade game, was great. The Honky Tonk Man, going off of the ropes, meemmmories.

    @790. Aliens Vs Predator 3. Lol.

  • @Jon. Amazon has it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401200583?ie=UTF8&tag=filboodotcom-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1401200583
    I’m looking forward to what Aronofsky does with Alex Murphy as well.

    @Reel. I have seen it twice already. Wrestlemania, the stand-up arcade game, was great. The Honky Tonk Man, going off of the ropes, meemmmories.

    @790. Aliens Vs Predator 3. Lol.

  • Thanks man, I just placed an order for it.

    Wow 790, you’d see anything he does? What about his take on Transformers? What about Aronofsky doing High School Musical 4?

    Who am I kidding? I’d watch anything that guy does too. The man is a freaking genius.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • Thanks man, I just placed an order for it.

    Wow 790, you’d see anything he does? What about his take on Transformers? What about Aronofsky doing High School Musical 4?

    Who am I kidding? I’d watch anything that guy does too. The man is a freaking genius.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..Weekly Rundown – 2/22/2009

  • No problem Jon.

    If he did High School Musical 4, that might be the first Aronofsky film I skipped, maybe.

  • No problem Jon.

    If he did High School Musical 4, that might be the first Aronofsky film I skipped, maybe.

  • 790

    Well if he did Transformers that would definitely get me to see it in the theatres,,,
    I’m sure his take on High School Musical would be rated R, with a dimensional twist at the end,,,

  • 790

    Well if he did Transformers that would definitely get me to see it in the theatres,,,
    I’m sure his take on High School Musical would be rated R, with a dimensional twist at the end,,,

  • A dimensional twist? Lol.

  • A dimensional twist? Lol.

  • 790

    Lol, don’t lol so soon,,,could be something like this,,,,
    ^
    The main cast after saving the big dance with there positive songs and wholesome nature dance all the way home,,, they are so preoccupied with dancing, they dance right into a gateway between worlds.

    They don’t even realise it til long after but this new reality is black & white. They start to sing, and their songs turn the black & white world into color and happiness.
    They know what they have to do,,, as they spread the word of teen love throughout the land…
    Just then a T-Rex enters the scene,,,,,,,

    The End ?

    This film of course would be in 3-D…
    and have a Samuel Jackson cameo at the very end credits.

  • 790

    Lol, don’t lol so soon,,,could be something like this,,,,
    ^
    The main cast after saving the big dance with there positive songs and wholesome nature dance all the way home,,, they are so preoccupied with dancing, they dance right into a gateway between worlds.

    They don’t even realise it til long after but this new reality is black & white. They start to sing, and their songs turn the black & white world into color and happiness.
    They know what they have to do,,, as they spread the word of teen love throughout the land…
    Just then a T-Rex enters the scene,,,,,,,

    The End ?

    This film of course would be in 3-D…
    and have a Samuel Jackson cameo at the very end credits.

  • I really like your thinking 790! That actually sounds like something I might pay matinee prices to see. But only if the T-Rex eats those pretentious little pricks. Like violently eat them. Disgustingly bad. Hell yeah.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..The Mighty Thor!

  • I really like your thinking 790! That actually sounds like something I might pay matinee prices to see. But only if the T-Rex eats those pretentious little pricks. Like violently eat them. Disgustingly bad. Hell yeah.

    Jon Stephenss last blog post..The Mighty Thor!

  • @790. You had me up to the T-Rex part. Toby Maguire was in a black and white film like that.

    “This film of course would be in 3-D…
    and have a Samuel Jackson cameo at the very end credits.”
    Nice comment on the state of movies now.

    “But only if the T-Rex eats those pretentious little pricks. Like violently eat them. Disgustingly bad. Hell yeah.”
    @Jon. Christ Man.

  • @790. You had me up to the T-Rex part. Toby Maguire was in a black and white film like that.

    “This film of course would be in 3-D…
    and have a Samuel Jackson cameo at the very end credits.”
    Nice comment on the state of movies now.

    “But only if the T-Rex eats those pretentious little pricks. Like violently eat them. Disgustingly bad. Hell yeah.”
    @Jon. Christ Man.

  • 790

    Fine let’s go with my original idea with the Predator entering the scene,,,

    Ok he’s about to kill the cast of High School Musical, and,,,,,, Action!!!

  • 790

    Fine let’s go with my original idea with the Predator entering the scene,,,

    Ok he’s about to kill the cast of High School Musical, and,,,,,, Action!!!

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