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Cinderella Man Review

Published June 6, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of Universal Pictures
Cinderella Man Cinderella Man
There comes a time in a man's life where he has to step up to the plate and admit when he's wrong. You see I've never liked Russell Crowe. I've always respected him as an actor, but there was something about him that made me want to punch him in the face. A friend of mine told me that it was because all men are jealous of him, maybe so, but even if I was jealous I would never admit it. The man just annoyed the hell out of me and I judged his movies based on the fact that fact. I really liked Gladiator and L.A. Confidential, but could never find myself having any respect for his recent films (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander). Well, after seeing his latest film Cinderella Man, the first thing I did was run out of the theater to see if the world had ended because…..brace yourself……I really enjoyed this film.

Cinderella Man

Set in the middle of the Great Depression, Crowe plays Jim Braddock, an aging down on his luck boxer who manages to inspire hope during one of the worst periods in American history. Right there should tell you exactly what the film Cinderella Man is, another inspirational biopic. There's one every year and they pretty much tell the same story about someone or something achieving greatness after losing everything. This film does that, but adds other elements to separate itself from the pack in order to create its own unique voice.

We've all studied in school on how bad the depression was. This story is centered on Jim Braddock, but you almost get the sense that the depression and the effects it had on the American people plays just as big of a role in the film. Director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Ransom, Apollo 13) paints a clear picture of just how bad things were and how much the common people were looking for anything to give them some sign of hope in their darkest hour. You can't help but cheer Braddock on as he climbs his way up the boxing ranks after so many obstacles kept bringing him lower and lower. Braddock is the hope and symbol they need to keep them going even though no one knew if things were ever going to get better. Even when the greatest challenge comes his way in the face of undefeated heavy weight champion (and killer of two men in the ring) Max Baer (Craig Bierko), Braddock never gives up.

Cinderella Man Cinderella Man
Cinderella Man sounds a little corny, but I guarantee you'll be cheering for Braddock just as much as everyone in the theater was. Don't get me wrong this film isn't by far perfect. It has all those cheesy moments that you see in these types of films. You have the big speech that inspires everyone, the doubtful person who gives up all hope only to become a believer at the end and of course the one obstacle that is so dangerous no man could ever walk away from it. The thing is though none of that matters as long as you don't let it. These films have been done countless times over and will keep coming for as long as films are being made. The key is to know exactly what you are watching and enjoy it for what it is; an uplifting story about hope.

Everyone in Cinderella Man pulls off a great performance (with the exception of Rene Zellweger who looks like she sucked on the sourest lemon of all time) and you can guarantee this film will be getting a lot of nods come Oscar time. Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and yes Russell Crowe strand out in this film and both do a great job of making you care for the characters.

Final Judgment: While some people will be saying that Cinderella Man sounds too much like Seabiscuit, and maybe it is, you can't help but love these types of movies for the feeling of hope they give us; especially with all the depressing events that are occurring today. The second collaboration of Ron Howard and Russell Crowe is lot better, in my eyes, than the first and has made me change the way I think about Crowe. Just like Jim Braddock was able to overcome all the doubt and struggles in his life to become a hero to the common man, I have to put away my pride and stubbornness and admit that maybe….just maybe I never gave Russell Crowe isn't so bad after all.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Vince Palomarez
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures

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