Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. It's a tribute to Day-Lewis that he can play a character like Danny -- cautious, withdrawn, inarticulate -- and endow him an eloquence and grace that aren't dependent on language. Without him, The Boxer might still be a powerful tale of loyalty and love, with a core of moral complexity; with Day-Lewis in the lead, it approaches greatness.
  2. 90
    Through quietly fiery performances by Day-Lewis and Watson, as well as novel-like depth and complexity, The Boxer not only avoids these pitfalls but emerges as a thoroughly engrossing movie.
  3. Mr. Day-Lewis, looking wearily rugged and battling his way through several plausible boxing matches, once again breathes fire into the character of a high-minded loner, and his vitality lends real force to the film's moral arguments.
  4. Writer-director Jim Sheridan, co-screenwriter Terry George, and Sheridan's favorite actor (and Oscar winner for My Left Foot) Daniel Day-Lewis reunite in The Boxer with a mellower political message that translates, roughly, into ''Can't we all just get along?''
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    80
    Amid a cacophony of cack-handed hijacks of Irish politics for Hollywood gain, Jim Sheridan's clear, intelligent directorial voice once again hits the strident notes of realism.
  6. 80
    In some ways, this is the most conventional of Sheridan's movies. But it never feels sentimental because of the grittiness of his approach.
  7. Reviewed by: David Denby
    80
    The movie's acts of violence and betrayal may be familiar, but the filmmakers' obvious contempt for people given over to fanaticism is enormously welcome -- a call for the most elementary kind of sanity.
  8. If you view it passively, as a well-crafted melodrama set in danger among passionate antagonists, The Boxer is rewarding enough. If you attack it intellectually, you see the degree to which it is informed by ideas and realize the power of its argument.
  9. Director Jim Sheridan, who has collaborated with writer Terry George on In the Name of the Father and Some Mother's Son clearly understands the weariness that inevitably consumes not only long, seemingly irresolvable conflicts but stories about them.
  10. 75
    Although it seems to borrow the pattern of the traditional boxing movie, the boxer here is not the usual self-destructive character, but the center of maturity and balance in a community in turmoil.
  11. 75
    The two actors, Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves), give such forceful performances and interact so well that it's impossible not to be mesmerized by their interaction.
  12. 70
    It can't compare to what might have been: a full-scale performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as an Irish raging bull--a rebel with a cause. There are still traces of greatness in what he attempts, and it's more than enough to make the movie worth a lingering look.
  13. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    What holds the movie together is the fiercely self-contained commitment of Day-Lewis's performance and the palpable chemistry between him and Watson.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Intelligently conceived and well- acted, this compact, straightforward drama about two ordinary people caught in the ongoing political crossfire packs enough punch to command audience interest, but won't light up critics or the B.O. to the extent achieved by the team's previous outings, "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father."
  15. Where the movie succeeds-and succeeds wonderfully-is when it stays a heartbeat away from politics. For two-thirds of the movie, it's an involving, boxing saga and romance.
  16. There is little chance for the movie's talented stars, Day Lewis and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves) to establish and develop their characters, beyond their set-piece declarations of love.
  17. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    Unfortunately, the film never really catches fire, despite uniformly high-caliber performances; Day-Lewis, surely one the finest actors of his generation, is excellent.
  18. 60
    As personal and political agendas mix, with deadly results, director Jim Sheridan parallels the moderated violence of boxing with the unchecked violence of terrorism.
  19. Most disappointing is the fact that the movie ends so abruptly that you can't help wondering what the whole story amounts to, moving as it is.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 25, 2011
    7
    I had to watch this for an Ireland Culture class and I was not looking forward to it at all. To my surprise this is a very gripping film. It really makes you think how screwed up Ireland was during the troubles and the hardships of life with so much violence and corruption in Northern Ireland. If you are looking to learn more about Ireland I highly recommend this movie. Full Review »
  2. Feb 14, 2014
    8
    Classic Daniel Day-Lewis. Every film I watch with him in it is made infinitely better because of his amazing performance. Literally, the guy never disappoints. As for the film itself, it was very enjoyable and riveting. It had a nice build-up to key, intense scenes and then a slight drop off, before another build up to an even more intense scene. It may be called "The Boxer", but as is made evident in the film, this one is about a lot more than boxing. If this and "In the Name of the Father" are any example, Jim Sheridan knows his way around a riveting film about the IRA and all of the things that come with that. Full Review »