“The Fighter”: Featuring a Trifecta of Fine Performances

Self watched “The Fighter” with hubby today (And right now, Mark Wahlberg’s handsome mug is close-up on flat-screen HDTV). This movie featured a trifecta of great performances, and these are the three:

Self would also like to include the Vengeful Chorus of the five sisters — what a riot they were! So many scenes would not have worked without their malevolent, sniping presence.

But — Melissa Leo! Shock! Self has just seen her in her Oscar gown, and she looks: a) waaay younger than she does in the movie; and b) waaay waaaay prettier. In “The Fighter,” she plays Mark Wahlberg’s avaricious and self-dramatizing Mom. How the title character can focus on his bouts when he is surrounded by so much drama (Most created by his Mom) is almost beyond comprehension.

Then there’s Christian Bale. From the very first frame, self was in shock. He played jittery, he played ridiculous, he played hollow-eyed crack addict. It was a very physical performance, every bit as demanding as Wahlberg’s role. But when he was in a scene, self could watch no one else. Except, except for the scenes he had with —

Amy Adams. Self has loved this actress for years. Her performances are always so grounded. Here, self loves her vulnerable yet feisty bartender, the little pouch of fat that she allows to peak over the waistband of her short shorts; the way her eyes look dreamy, but her mouth and her words are not;  the timing of her verbal jabs;  the way she looks utterly believable in every scene (and even steals some from Christian Bale, quite a feat!), whether she is playing flirtatious in a bar, romantic with Wahlberg, or screaming profanities and punching out the hero’s sister. What a performance!  Self can imagine no one else in the role.

Self can hardly wait to see who wins the Best Supporting Actor (She hopes Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (She hopes Adams, but it won’t be. It’ll probably be that tall young girl from “True Grit.”)

Self also finds herself being extremely curious about the director, David O. Russell.  (Oh, she discovers from IMDB that he directed “Three Kings”!!  Self loved that movie!)

Five out of five stars. The best movie self has seen so far this year.

Stay tuned.

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