Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed movie “The Wrestler” has wrestling fans and movies goers alike talking up a storm. Randy “The Ram” Robinson, played by Mickey Rourke, is a down on his luck independent wrestler who is looking to re-capture the glory he reached as one of the sport’s top attractions in the 1980’s.
Robinson, twenty years removed from his days of selling out arenas across the country is now working independent shows in the tri-state area. With the crowds and the paydays not being as big as they used to, Robinson is trying to make his way back to the top and will do almost anything to get there, until a heart attack forces him into retirement. Away from the screaming adoration of die hard wrestling fans, Robinson is looking for some type of meaning in his personal life while trying to establish a relationship with his estranged daughter, Stephanie, played by Evan Rachel Wood who holds years of resentment towards her father. Robinson is also looking to strike up a blossoming romance with Pam, an exotic dancer, played by Marisa Tomei while trying to make ends meet with his job at a supermarket. Things start to go the wrong way for Robinson as he fights and claws to make things right. Eventually he comes to a grim epiphany that he is merely fighting for something that is no longer there which pulls Randy back to the ring.
“The Wrestler” explores the life of a washed up wrestler looking for his last run at the top while accurately depicting the atmosphere and feel of a locker room on the independent scene. Most workers will be very surprised and will be telling their friends “That’s how it’s really done” when watching this movie. Fans who think this will be another No Holds Barred or Nacho Libre will have nothing to fear as Aronofsky’s film is nothing of the sort. Mickey Rourke’s character has you captivated from the very beginning of the movie as you find yourself rooting for Robinson’s redemption.
Casual and die hard wrestling fans will be able to spot some notable names and promotions in the industry. In my opinion, I now understand the hype regarding this movie is well deserved as it offers more than Rourke’s Oscar worthy performance which is all we tend to hear about. If I was not a wrestling fan, I can safely say I would have enjoyed this movie as much as everyone has thus far. Two thumbs way up for an outstanding picture.