Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Jan 31, 2011
    100
    An exhilarating fight-flick that, like its scrappy central character, is impossible not to root for.
  2. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Dec 17, 2010
    100
    Virtually flawless performances and directorial execution render The Fighter one of the most thrilling movies of 2010.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 15, 2010
    100
    That rare film in which every performer in it leaves the viewer in awe.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 10, 2010
    100
    A movie so rousing, so real and so full of complicated emotions that it all feels brand-new.
  5. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 16, 2010
    91
    It's a film possessed of its own force, wit and style, and it builds to a rousing climax that absolutely pays off in crowd-pleasing fashion. It knows what it is, doesn't try to be what it's not, and hits you with drop-dead force. In short, it's terrific.
  6. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 8, 2010
    91
    This one, as thoughtful as it is rousing, scores a TKO.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Jan 4, 2011
    90
    Urgent, gritty, sometimes weirdly funny, The Fighter might be considered his first feel-good movie. But Russell's too honest and acute an observer to serve up affirmation without leaving a subversive aftertaste of ambivalence and unease.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 15, 2010
    90
    David O. Russell's film makes use of some terrific performances - Christian Bale is brilliant, as is Melissa Leo, even by their lofty standards.
  9. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 10, 2010
    90
    Russell has always excelled at finding new ways to use familiar actors, and every performance in The Fighter is noteworthy if not outstanding.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 9, 2010
    90
    While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 9, 2010
    90
    The rousing The Fighter tries a number of risky maneuvers and manages to make them pay off in the end. The movie initially feels like more of a near thing than the filmmakers anticipated, but as in boxing it's only the final decision that counts.
  12. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 9, 2010
    90
    With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness - I can't quite exclaim, "It's a knockout!" - and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.
  13. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 17, 2010
    88
    If you think "Rocky" and "Raging Bull" define the alpha and omega of boxing movies, think again. David O. Russell's The Fighter proves there's still punch in the genre, especially when a filmmaker tells a familiar story in a brand-new way.
  14. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Dec 17, 2010
    88
    Director David O. Russell ("Three Kings") delivers a film of staggering impact.
  15. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 16, 2010
    88
    The Fighter is funny, ferocious, sad, sweet, pulpy, and violent. Sometimes, all in the same minute.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 16, 2010
    88
    An off-center but exceptional boxing film I prefer in every aspect, especially one: It feels like it comes from real life as well as the movies.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 10, 2010
    88
    The Fighter, its heart full to bursting, is an emotional powerhouse that comes close to spilling over.
  18. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 9, 2010
    88
    Visionary director David O. Russell so deftly weaves the family's story that we, too, are initially seduced by Dicky.
  19. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 9, 2010
    88
    The Fighter is this close to a triumph: a movie that steeps us in the grit of its time and place - Lowell, Mass., in the 1990s - and electrifyingly dramatizes Ward's battles with the family that almost loved him to death.
  20. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 9, 2010
    83
    Bale's live-wire performance typifies the many major and minor elements that elevate The Fighter from the deeply conventional sports movie it might have been into the endearingly offbeat sports movie it turns out to be.
  21. 80
    The movie has so much texture that once it gets you, you're good and got.
  22. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Dec 10, 2010
    80
    At its best, The Fighter takes on the chasm between televised boxing and its mostly working-class, aspirational origins with grit and intelligence.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 10, 2010
    80
    By far the most rousing, expertly cast movie this year, David O. Russell's movie takes a roundabout way of telling its true story.
  24. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    The picture makes too many concessions to the Hollywood judges, pulls too many punches. But at least it has real punches to pull, because there's honest sweat here too, and a full complement of those archetypes that lie at the popular heart of the genre.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    A punch-drunk tale whose fitful ramble from Jerry Springer-style family seaminess to "Rocky"-like triumph is elevated enormously by knockout performances.
  26. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 16, 2010
    75
    Ultimately, The Fighter loses its courage and betrays the terms of its own story by fashioning an interpretation designed to please the people it portrays. It does a switch on us, by changing its focus from Micky's character to Micky's career and then pretending it was really about the career all along.
  27. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 15, 2010
    75
    A boxing movie swinging in too many directions at once, as if someone sneaked a third clubber into the ring. All the emotional punches land solidly, to occasionally devastating effect, but at the conclusion you're not sure which competing cliche wins.
  28. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 10, 2010
    75
    Cast against type is Amy Adams. Normally tabbed for sweet and innocent roles, Adams here dons the persona of a confrontational bitch.
  29. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 7, 2010
    75
    These are characters so repulsive that it's hard to care what happens to them, but it's to the credit of a superb cast that you do end up caring.
  30. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 16, 2010
    70
    Bale dominates the movie as Dicky Eklund, a pathetic loudmouth who's let his own fight career slip away from him, yet what really holds this together is Wahlberg's low-key, firmly internalized performance as a man torn between his loyalty to the clan and his responsibility to himself.
  31. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Dec 9, 2010
    70
    The screenplay, credited to three writers, has that over-doctored feeling to it, and we're asked to take on a larger redemption tale that undermines the truth of Bale's wholly unsympathetic portrayal of a drug addict and a narcissist. The Fighter's desire to show us what that awful combination looks like is overwhelmed by its urge to show us a Hollywood-style triumph.
  32. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Dec 6, 2010
    70
    In its small moments, say when Walhberg sighs that his robe misspells "Micky," The Fighter feels clued-in to the very small, very tough world of a man trying to make his way out of his block-and after getting to know his family, you want to help him pack his bags.
  33. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 6, 2010
    70
    If The Fighter feels like kind of a mess, lurching from one scene to the next as if the film itself has taken a few hits to the head, that's not entirely a bad thing.
  34. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 10, 2010
    67
    Only Amy Adams, playing Mickey's tough-tender girlfriend CharĀ­lene, manages to be convincingly working-class without seeming either dopey or rabid or strung-out.
  35. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 15, 2010
    63
    The weakness of the film is the weakness of the leading role. That's not a criticism of Mark Wahlberg, who has a quite capable range, but of how he and Russell see the character.
  36. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 7, 2010
    60
    You can't necessarily blame Wahlberg, as his modest performance is the one element that feels truly authentic and heartfelt.
  37. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 6, 2010
    60
    The Fighter, for all the dedication of its players, takes a heavy swing at us, and misses.
  38. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 8, 2010
    55
    The tragedy of The Fighter is that Wahlberg's performance suggests a character who wants more. And yet Russell barely seems to notice how much subtlety Wahlberg brings to his role, or to the movie at large.
  39. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 10, 2010
    50
    Pity the boxing movie that thinks it can be both "Raging Bull" and "Rocky."
  40. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 7, 2010
    50
    It plays as a "Rocky"-fied fairy tale for our time: Consigned to Palookaville, a sweet, unassuming boxer with more heart than brains steps up-all the way to the top of the world.
  41. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Dec 6, 2010
    50
    So like much of this film, the viewer is turned into an observer. You never feel close enough to the action, either in the ring or in the kitchens, living rooms and tough streets where the story takes place. The characters engage you up to a point but never really pull you in.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 368 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 110
  1. Sep 25, 2011
    8
    The story is consciously repeating what it does, which results in a frigid ending. However, its Christian Bale that you will like, not MarkThe story is consciously repeating what it does, which results in a frigid ending. However, its Christian Bale that you will like, not Mark Wahlberg or David Russell. Full Review »
  2. Mar 10, 2012
    8
    The Fighter is a very complex film that catches you from the beginning to the end, and this is for the topics that treats; with this I do notThe Fighter is a very complex film that catches you from the beginning to the end, and this is for the topics that treats; with this I do not refer to the boxing, but family conflicts, drug problems, free thought and a society that lost the sense of right and wrong.
    The Fighter portrayed a failed boxer called Micky, who is trying to improve, but because of his situation that is impossible: he is hunted by the shadow of success of his older brother Dicky; he is constantly attacked by his family and that is way he cannot think by himself; he is crushed by the idea that has his hometown about him (Micky is a fighter that is used by the other ones in order to category up).
    The ironic thing is that his life (a healthy boxer trying to balance his feelings between his girlfriend and his family) is control by a drug addict with a false success in life brother and by a fanatic and bipolar mother. This two support characters are the foundation of the film, because they both are trying to project a life to a utopic future, but Dicky and his mom are too blind to see the reality, because they live in the past, where Dick had dignity and Alice had common sense.
    These two characters are awesomely played by Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, those dazzling performances and the no expected one of Amy Adams, cover the wasted one of Mark Whalberg.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 8, 2011
    5
    I really wanted to love this movie. After reading the reviews and seeing the trailer, I had such high hopes for The Fighter. I was so veryI really wanted to love this movie. After reading the reviews and seeing the trailer, I had such high hopes for The Fighter. I was so very disappointed. The acting was outstanding, however, the characters never drew me in. I felt bored throughout the whole movie. It was just so predictable, and long. Full Review »