This past week, in my continued effort to catch up on Oscar contenders, I managed to see The King’s Speech, True Grit, and The Fighter, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although there’s a special place in my heart for good westerns, and I would probably most want to rewatch True Grit, I found The Fighter to be the most compelling of the three, both for its storyline and performances.
I am not a fan of Christian Bale, but his performance here is incredible and definitely Oscar-worthy (not that the Oscars are necessarily reflections of merit). And Melissa Leo was completely unrecognizable as his mother. In fact, all of the acting was spot on, to the point where the film was hard to watch in places; not just because of the boxing (which is always hard for me), but rather because of the raw portrayal of family dynamics and social issues. Don’t skip this because you think it’s just about boxing.
The performances in The King’s Speech were very good, but, except for Colin Firth, I didn’t really lose myself in them like I did with The Fighter. I was very conscious that it was Helena Bonham Carter playing the Queen Mum, Geoffrey Rush playing the therapist, etc. I’d say the same was true for the two male leads in True Grit. On the other hand, Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross blew me away. I agree heartily with those who have said she would be perfect to play Katniss in the upcoming film of The Hunger Games.
For a bit of fluff amongst all this seriousness, I also netflixed the recent spy thriller Salt, where the title character is basically a female (but not “feminine”) Jason Bourne. It was a pure adrenaline rush that I liked far more than it may have deserved and really only served to increase my inexplicable girl crush on Angelina Jolie. (Just go with it. It’s something I can’t explain. Much like my love for Keanu Reeves, it’s a mystery probably “best left unsolved.”) If you like action movies, seeing a woman kicking serious ass, and are willing to completely suspend your disbelief, I definitely recommend it.