Entertainment Weekly - 06/10/2005
"[T]here's not another actor working in the movies today with Crowe's kind of gravitational pull to authenticity..."
New York Times - 06/03/2005
"Out of the ring and opposite Mr. Giamatti, Mr. Crowe eases into the boxer's soft side, at times beautifully; in the ring, he's repulsively believable."
USA Today - 06/10/2005
"The climactic matchup works splendidly for two reasons. There's so much on the line, and the staging is breathtaking..."
Premiere - 07/01/2005
"Crowe's physical acting is miraculous....A top-notch entertainment and as fine a sports movie as one could hope for."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2005
"Imbuing his Braddock with uncommon dignity and integrity, Crowe creates an utterly human character..."
Uncut - 10/01/2005
"Russell Crowe is rugged and resilient....It's a solid picture..."
Rolling Stone - 12/01/2005 Ranked #6 in Rolling Stone's "Top 25 DVDs Of 2005' -- "If there's any justice, DVD will rescue this rousing drama from shocking box-office indifference."
Widescreen Review - 07/01/2006
"[An] emotional true story....This is a good soundtrack that works well with the story."
Wall Street Journal - 05/22/2009
"The film is RAGING BULL minus the rage, though with a motivation that's at least as involving, and a lot more surprising."
Director Ron Howard and star Russell Crowe re-team after their Oscar-winning collaboration, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, for this rousing biopic. It's the true story of boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe), a heavyweight contender from New Jersey nicknamed "the Bulldog of Bergen," who lost his fame and fortune during the Great Depression only to win the hearts of the downtrodden during a spectacular comeback. Crowe is masterful as Braddock, with Renee Zellweger playing his wife, and Paul Giamatti as his loyal friend and manager, Joe Gould. The sharply observed script devotes a significant amount of screen time to the domestic struggles of Braddock's family; developing character and place with a wealth of period detail, so when the comeback starts, the payoff is enormous. The matches themselves are unforgettable: raw, intense, riveting, with more than a passing stylistic nod to Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking 1980 film, RAGING BULL. Though it may sound a bit formulaic, one should remember that this is the true and "original" underdog boxer story from which all others hail, and it's riveted together with true craftsmanship. Howard has a real skill for plucking audience members' heartstrings, and the performances are first-rate. Giamatti and Crowe play off each other in a rapport perfectly suited to their roles, especially at the ring, where the one's manic intensity makes a perfect contrast to the other's warrior grace.
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