The Wrestler, directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert Seigel, and starring Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Mickey Rourke, tells the story of a beat up and broken former professional wrestling superstar. It’s a grainy, gritty character study and is not at all the feel good movie of the year. But it tells a compelling story and all the praise the movie and the cast has attained is richly deserved.
Mickey Rourke is amazing as Randy “The Ram” Robinson. The character’s hard luck is well written and Rourke’s performance is so real, at times it felt like The Wrestler was part of the excellent documentary, Beyond The Mat, which was an eye opening look at some of the hardships professional wrestlers endured for love and money. At this point Rourke has already won a Golden Globe for his performance, and I have to assume an Oscar nomination is in the cards.
Marisa Tomei stars as “Cassidy”, a stripper, who may or may not have a “heart of gold”, but this is no Hollywood romantic comedy. She’s tough and no-nonsense and does what she has to do to earn a living. Tomei was pretty incredible and didn’t shy away from pretty explicit scenes. If you mostly remember her from My Cousin Vinny you will be very surpised.
Evan Rachel Wood stars as Stephanie, Randy’s daughter. Her role is relatively small, but Wood does a great job of portraying the character as the bitter and untrusting grown up child of a dysfunctional father.
Robert Seigel’s screenplay is rather unpleasant but very real, with very few “light” moments. Darren Aronofsky’s direction is not at all flashy. At times it’s almost cinema verite. Like I said, it felt at times like I watching a documentary. Considering Aronofsky’s last movie was the very visual The Fountain, I was surprised by the very low key look of The Wrestler. Very solid piece of storytelling. Enjoy.