Last night David O. Russell’s The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams had it’s first ever screening at AFI Festival. The secret screening was only announced yesterday morning and over 100 people were turned away at the door. The star and producer of the film Mark Wahlberg was there to introduce the film and he told the audience “I’m happy it got to the big screen. It took me such a long time to get the movie made that if you don’t like the movie, I’ll do two hours of hard labor.”

Well if one thing is clear it’s that nothing is clear and we’re not sure if Wahlberg is due for some hard labor or an Oscar!

The reviews of this film are extremely mixed. Some critics are saying that this film has some of the best performances they’ve seen all year and that the film will definitely be a contender for best picture, others are calling it “cartoonish” and saying it’s a major let down. We’ve collected reviews from all around and here is what the people have said…

The Overall Good:

It’s got a good pace and a solid performances for some…

David nailed it with “The Fighter” – great pacing (takes it’s time like films used to but never gets boring), great performances (can see a Best Supporting nod for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo), and a story that not only plays well with genres – PWH – Reader of /Film — Note: Bare in mind this reader also stated that he had to turn off I Heart Huckabees because as he said in the review: “I’m not smart enough to enjoy that shit.”

Great writer and a great sense of the characters roots and the town in which its been shot for others…

The screenplay, credited to Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, pulls off a delicate balancing act of good, old-fashioned sports drama and gritty character study…”The Fighter” does for Lowell what Ben Affleck’s “The Town” did for Charlestown earlier this year. It’s about a place where family and loyalty actually mean something, and sometimes different things, too.  – The Wrap


This is where people start to disagree. Some think that the was the film that let down some of the characters…

There is something a little too cartoonish about Micky’s completely impossible family and also something a little too short-sighted in a protagonist who can’t see the obvious… Leo plays her with a pinched, determined face and overly styled hair, a woman missing the gene for maternal instincts… Somewhere along the line, the movie pretty much gives up trying to understand her so she is relegated to ringside seats rooting for Micky. -THR

Some weren’t impressed..

Wahlberg’s dull-eyed, sweet receptivity—while combined with brute strength—may hurt his awards chances…. Adams wins points for authenticity over Leo’s bigger-than-life mother hen… Bale risks going too far with his druggie extrovert, but he slowly wins us over. He seems to excel when he’s dieted and sweated out every ounce of fat on his frame.- Indiewire

Others thought it was the perfect balance and awards are on their way…

    Rather than dial it up, Wahlberg really lets Bale and Leo steal the show in juicy supporting roles that just about any actor would kill for… Bale is unquestionably the front-runner for Best Supporting Actor, and I imagine he’ll be accepting plenty of critics’ awards over the next few months. In a perfect world, Leo and Adams would both be nominated for Best Supporting Actress… because while Leo will be the performance that women leave talking about, Adams’ continually strong work can’t be denied. – The Wrap

The Action:

Some hated it…

The boxing sequences get bunched toward the end. Russell deliberately shoots them in brightly lit video that makes it look like you’re watching television. He has broadcasters and ringsiders comment on the fights, but seldom takes you close enough to hear what Dickie might be saying to Micky. You’re outside the ring, not inside. – THR

Conversely others loved it for the same reasons…

While the film is ultimately character driven, that doesn’t mean that Russell hasn’t done a phenomenal job filming the scenes in the ring. Shot like an HBO boxing special, you almost forget that you are watching a movie and not an actual sporting event. What makes these scenes even greater, though, is that because the audience has spent so much time with the protagonist and understand the character so well, they actually begin to have a visceral reaction and cheer on the hero with every great punch and dodge. - Cinemablend

And others took a middle-ground…

Only one of the boxing montages in the film appears weak; the others are played for all they’re worth and have viewers gritting teeth. By the time we’re being sold on movie boxing, we’re also so invested in these characters that we’ll ride the train with them wherever it takes us. – Movingpicturesmagazine


The final word(s)!

  • “…like much of this film, the viewer is turned into an observer. You never feel close enough to the action, either in the ring or in the kitchens, living rooms and tough streets where the story takes place. The characters engage you up to a point but never really pull you in.” – THR
  • “Excellently balancing tones and evoking superb performances from each one of his actors, director David O. Russell has crafted an awesome boxing film.” – Cinemablend
  • “It’s just a very likable movie and I think it’ll play well with critics and audiences alike.” – /Film
  • ‘Will the movie make the best picture top ten? If all goes right (reviews/box office/critics and guild prizes) it’s possible. The actors shine in this and should be rewarded.” – Indiewire
  • “We haven’t had a real “Rocky” film for a long time; with these heartfelt characters and the conflict they impart on their world and each other, Paramount seems to have picked a film that could do some bruising at the box office” – Movingpicturesmagazine
  • “The film represents Russell’s best work to date, and as such, “The Fighter” has to be considered a serious contender for Hollywood’s top prize when March 7 rolls around.” – The Wrap

It seems like despite peoples problems with the film at the end of the day they all enjoyed it on some level. Based off its trailer we thought it was a winner! We’ll have to wait and see it for ourselves before we make up our minds!

The Fighter hits theaters December 10th.

Has anyone out there seen it? If so, leave a comment or e-mail us at and we’ll add you into our review roundup!

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