Finally, it’s appropriate to believe the hype. Mickey Rourke is The Wrestler. A lot have other people have written about the parallels between the actor and character so I’ll save you the boring repetition and plot summary. As former wrestling fan, I found the movie extremely accurate and sad. The life of a professional wrestler sucks and this movie does nothing to glamorize this fact. The heart of the story revolves around the question of how do you deal when everything you know and love and are good at is taken away from you. Do you give it all up and start over or do you try to hang on and hold out hope for the dream to live on?
The Wrestler isn’t a perfect movie. Marissa Tomei is sexy and great in her role but we’re supposed to believe that she’s over the hill and incapable of attracting men in a strip club? This is really the only area where we sort of venture into cliche-land. Well, then there is the daughter who hates her absentee dad, but that’s in every movie, right? The wrestling scenes are well shot and prove that while wrestling is fake, the athletes put their bodies through hell to put on a great show for the audience.
While watching The Wrestler I kept thinking back to the documentary Beyond the Mat, which could have easily served as source material. Mickey Rourke is great and should probably win an Oscar for his performance but the film is slow paced and more of a character study than a movie about wrestling. Aside from some unnecessary shaky cam style shooting during normal scenes, there isn’t much to body slam in The Wrestler.