|Universal Pictures | Release Date: June 3, 2005||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Ron Howard's Depression-era movie also works from the inside out, building a classic underdog drama from depth of character, rich texture, vivid detail and stirring performances.
The film is most significantly about puzzled people trying to comprehend the cosmic reversal of fortune that was the Depression. They don't have much more than raw courage and simple virtues to rely on. Unlike most period pieces, Cinderella Man encourages us to fondly recall not songs or clothes but values we have largely mislaid. Read full review
Howard manipulates audiences without guile, jerking tears, piling on catastrophes, smoothing out dissonances, making bad characters badder and good ones gooder--and clearly believing that this is wholesome. At what he does, he's peerless. I wish I had more respect for what he does--and for myself the next morning for surrendering. Read full review
With the notable exception of Martin Scorsese's opus, most boxing flicks suffer form a certain amount of raw-boned sentimentality, the sort of easy melodrama that pits naive underdogs against corrupt overlords, or age against youth, or purity against prejudice. Even the recent "Million Dollar Baby" succumbed in the final act. But this one, where "Rocky" meets "The Waltons," has us reeling under its saccharine weight. Read full review
Viewers who remember Max Baer may, however, take issue with the way the film treats this charismatic fighter. In 1933, Baer became an important symbol of Jewish strength when he faced off against Hitler's favored fighter, Max Schmeling, and while reducing Baer to a bloodthirsty villain makes it easier to root for Braddock, it's an unfair bit of character assassination. Read full review
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