User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 252 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 252

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  1. Oct 11, 2010
    8
    After being an ardent watcher of wrestling for many years I was presently suprised when 'The Wrestler' came out to see it delievered a fairly accurate representation of what many say about the wrestling business. Rourke rises from the box office ashes to produce a rounded performance with wrestling moves and all. This film and the death of many real life wrestlers led me to realise I could no longer watch an industry that put such personal and physical strain on it's employees. It's powerful and poignant and body slams your emotions, again, again and again... Expand
  2. Jun 4, 2012
    8
    An already well-trodden story line is given a new lease of life thanks to some top performances - I never realised that Rourke could be this good. And what a top ending!
  3. Nov 3, 2011
    9
    There seems to have been a lot that was skipped in the life of a wrestler but this covered more than enough and exposed the many myths against wrestling and wrestlers. In also explains their chaotic lives in terms of how wrestling affects them. Memorable moments include the self slicing for blood (myth holds that its fake blood); constant travel means severed relationships of families and more closer to a group amongst wrestlers as family; and ofcourse the nature of taking steroids (health abuse) just to entertain since it becomes addictive. I was a wrestling fan as a child - not having watched it for about 8years now this was a refresher for me. Well done movie - felt like a documentary of a real wrestler rather than a movie. Expand
  4. Sep 19, 2010
    7
    It's official. I just don't get Hollywood.

    Tonight I watched Mickey Rourke's highly-touted comeback (although I consider his perfect performance as Marv in Sin City as a more appropriate example of his comeback) in The Wrestler. While his performance is phenomenal, Sean Penn deserved the Oscar. I'm glad I saw both performances and feel good that the best man won.

    In any case, The
    Wrestler itself is an interesting case study in the whole Hollywood scene.

    Saturated with near-flawless performances from underrated actors, and filmed in a superb, gritty, honest and raw manner, The Wrestler had the makings of another Raging Bull. Where it lost its way, however, is in the script and, in some way, the directing.

    Don't get me wrong. The Wrestler is a good movie. And I would rather watch it a hundred times than endure Benjamin Button again. However, it has some very basic flaws that, amazingly, have gone nearly unnoticed in most reviews I've read. Luckily there are a few out there who saw the same movie I did, but it begs the question of how in the world do seasoned film critics miss the basics? How can someone give this movie 4 stars when it breaks the simplest of film making rules??

    For the first hour of this nearly two-hour film is perfect. Shot in a documentary style, with very little scripted dialogue, what the viewer is exposed to is the seedy underbelly of the wrestling world. What a miserable existence is portrayed. Emotionally, the viewer IMMEDIATELY connects with what the people/characters are doing, why they do it, etc. It's sad. It's pathetic. It's depressing as hell.

    Then, the main character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, has a heart attack, which requires a bypass and immediate retirement. Understandably, Randy's miserable existence as a washed up wrestler, compounded by this sudden health problem, which only exacerbates his miserable existence, would lead to introspection and making amends for any wrongdoing in his life.

    But here is where the movie loses me.

    I've been sucked in. I'm THERE. I am completely following, understanding and sympathizing with Randy. I'm even following why he would want to make amends. I'm even there when he initially approaches a long-lost daughter, who is not mentioned at all until his heart attack. And then suddenly a movie that is all about developing the emotional connection between the audience and the characters through exposure to reality, suddenly turns into a movie with a lot of sappy dialogue that heavily forces the viewer to shift from a reality-based understanding, to a manufactured one. One that is clearly script-driven and over-Hollywood, when much of the dialogue up until now has almost been banter-like and ad-libbed. Very natural to almost unnatural.

    Like Benjamin Button, it's these forced mechanics that drive me, as a viewer INSANE.

    The movie still has very incredible moments throughout the rest of the film, mostly performance-driven. At no point can I say that Mickey and Marisa are not good in this film. They are amazing. It's just that the script lingers far too close to Leaving Las Vegas and Rocky to feel too good about the power of this story.
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  5. Jan 16, 2011
    9
    this was a great movie. it really moved me and touched my heart, and Mickey Rourke did an amazingly beautiful job and he gave us a bravura performance. i'm not a fan of wrestling but the movie kept my interest from start to finish. 9+
  6. Dec 30, 2010
    8
    This is a drama about an aging professional wrestler (Mickey Rourke), decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows in VFW halls and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring: by working full time at the grocery store, trying to reconcile with the daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) he abandoned in childhood and forming a closer bond with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) he has romantic feelings for. He struggles with his new life and an offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, which may be his ticket back to stardom.

    Mickey Rourke is always tough, always violent so you can't really expect him to deliver good emotional dialogue. But Rourke said his lines with great emotions and also a sense of toughness underneath. His award-winning performance will be a mark in his long career. Marisa Tomei isn't to be left out either. Playing mom stripper who is attached to this washed-up wresler is probably one of the best thing she done. Looking good yet emotionally strong, Tomei is absolutely perfect for the role. Darren Aronofsky was snubbed from the director race. But the wrestling matches looked stylish and so believable that I think he should've gotten a nod. The Wrestler is a uplifting drama that has a thin premise, but it was built by a great cast and amazing cinematography
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  7. Jan 7, 2013
    8
    The Wrestler is an excellent character study with a dynamite central performance from Mickey Rourke. It obviously takes a lot of influence from the famed documentary Beyond the Mat; Randy 'The Ram' Robinson is pretty much a dead-on xerox of Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, broken daughter relationship and all. That said, Beyond the Mat was fantastic and so is The Wrestler.
  8. Jan 2, 2011
    8
    Impeccable casting, sheer authenticity, candid deliveries, and heart rending emotion drive "The Wrestler" to an unprecedented level, transcending anything of the hackneyed "rags to riches to rags" genre. The experiences seen through the beaten and battered Rourke hits home and sticks with you like the cohesive wrap which covers his wounds. If your the fantastical type, salivating from the mouth, anticipating a knockout of Ivan Drago, "The Wrestler" is too real for your liking. Expand
  9. May 3, 2011
    10
    What Darren Aronofsky does here is let us take a peek into the loneliness and all to crappy life of a washed up wrestler who not even feeling anything in his life anymore tries to get the things that he was to selfish to keep. Weather this is his trying to form a bond with a stripper or his daughter. It also gives us a slight glimpse into the world of wrestling something which is done fantastically. Rourke is back and better than ever as someone who is all to familiar. Expand
  10. May 5, 2012
    6
    A well acted, well shot and refreshingly different film which is unfortunately too predictable, too slowly paced and too deviod of really exciting or intense moments to be worth more than one watch. By all means give it a go, but don't buy into the hype that it's something spectacular. When the end credits role it doesn't feel as if anything ever really got going, and the conflicts, predicaments and dilemas in the movie are pretty weak. Fans of wrestling may get a bit more out of it, but to people like me it's just an OK movie. Expand
  11. Jan 29, 2013
    10
    In what may as well have been a dramatised version of his life, Mickey Rourke puts in a career-defining (and comeback) performance as a warm hearted yet broken down and aged wrestler going by the alias of Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, now working part-time in a supermarket deli counter. A particular moment, when Randy is walking from the warehouse to the store, is truly brilliant, Aronofsky attempts to recreate a wrestlers walk towards the entrance ramp, and thus Randy slowly makes his way there, with the chants and screams of fans in his hand, epic.
    We see a wonderfully constructed opening montage of various magazine and paper covers and cutouts from the 80s showing the hey day of The Ram, all leading up to the present day.
    Rourke has embraced the character will a full steam ahead attitude, flowing bleached blond hair, fake tan and a physique resembling that of an older and battle-heardened wrestler, the fitness is there, but the age shows.
    Its a simple film redefining the message of forgiveness and redemption mixed into a excellent tale of drugs, sex and wrestling. Rourke brilliantly portrays his emotion through his famous skill of method acting (check out his clip from The Expendables) and through the masterful direction of Darren Aronofsky.
    In this film, its the little thing that make the most difference to the story being told. Rourke wears a jacket in the film held together by duct tape, this already shows perhaps his financial difficulty, or his hesitation to move on from the past. While not quite as hostile as Jake 'the snake' Roberts, Rourkes character could have very well been based on him.
    The dialogue is simple yet heartfelt, with an Oscar-worthy performance from Marisa Tomei, who is Randy's long time friend who has a full-time job as a stripper.
    When Randy has a health scare after a match (and a brutal one at that), he begins, perhaps too little too late, about chaging his career for good
    It simply falls into place, there may be some scenes hard to watch for many, there is humour in many aspects, but it is Rourke who has defined this movie as a standout masterpiece, beautiful filmmaking, wonderful acting but most importantly, a heart-wrenching story of despair, bravery, stupidity and love, see this as soon as possible.
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  12. Dec 5, 2011
    8
    The wrestler is an amazing film that features great acting, Mickey Rourke is an amazing lead. The film does get a little boring at times and it seems to recycle itself a bit through out as well. Still a good film though.
  13. Dec 10, 2011
    10
    A well directed film by Daren Afronsky, Micky Rourke and Marisa Tomei are more than able to bring their respective characters and all of their flaws to life in a realistic and engaging manner.. At times capable of bringing a tear to the eye and at others capable of turning stomachs, the Wrestler nonetheless enchants throughout its entirety telling a story that all are capable of sympathizing with.
  14. Jan 12, 2012
    7
    Even with all of its gritty and melancholy realism, The Wrestler feels a little too safe. The story is a standard character-driven narrative which rarely moves away from the staples of what makes drama. It includes such well-worn themes as issues with family, work, and poverty; coping with the present and letting go of the past, and coming to terms with mortality and the fragility of life; nothing that hasn't been done before. This may be exactly what Aronofsky wanted to achieve with his bleak vision of reality; but it's just too slow-paced to be top-quality entertainment, and too basic to be top-quality art. However, a perfect performance from Rourke ensures it isn't lost to mediocrity. Worth a watch, but don't expect layers of complexity -- the film is as superficial as it is sincere. Expand
  15. Jan 2, 2013
    7
    It's a pretty good drama movie and Mickey Rourke does an amazing job as the lead. It's a very likeable movie and I would definently recommend watching it.
  16. Apr 14, 2013
    8
    Mickey Rourke gives a performance so well that the entire movie comes together beautifully behind him. Aronofsky captures Rocky's physical and emotional pain perfectly, that you end up feeling his pain throughout his journey.
  17. Mar 15, 2013
    8
    While the movie feels like an attempt to rejuvenate Mickey Rourke's career, the story is authentic and the performances are believable because they are outstanding.
  18. Nov 11, 2012
    9
    Why did I watch it?
    Recorded this one a while ago as well, following its high praise on release. Oh and I used to like wrestling.

    What's it all about?
    Mickey Rourke is Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, an American wrestler popular in the late 80's, desperately clinging to his days of glory in the present day and scraping a living in doing so. Robinson puts his tired and worn body through the
    ringer against younger athletes in local independent matches fought in front of small crowds. As he struggles to pay his rent, he manages to save funds for dances from his favourite dancer Marisa Tomei at his local strip joint and makes efforts to reconcile with his estranged daughter.

    Should you watch it?
    The Wrestler is a brilliant character piece from director Darren Aronofsky. Rourke is fantastic as the battered and troubled veteran unable to call time on his career. His Oscar nomination was fully deserved and on the back of that performance I feel sorry he didn't come out as winner (note - I haven't seen Sean Penn in Milk). Marisa Tomei is also brilliant as the similarly troubled stripper Robinson finds solace with. Randy 'The Ram 'Robinson
    The film is similar to Aronofsky's follow-up Black Swan, both being deep character studies of troubled leads. The film is heavy in shots from behind Rourke as he walks down corridors towards the ring or towards the deli counter at work and as well resembling the coverage of a boxer or rock band approaching the arena it gives the film the feeling of a documentary. You can almost imagine Louis Theroux providing some narration. Robinson's longing for the good times is complimented by the 80's guitar heavy score (Slash played the guitar for the score).

    The Wrestler is the emotional ride of veteran who doesn't know how live for anything else and ultimately the ending doesn't matter as he climbs the turn-buckle for his 'finisher' as he has found peace back in the ring again.
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  19. Aug 25, 2014
    8
    I am not even a wrestling fan, but I loved this. It is truly more than your average sports film, thanks to the brilliant performance by Mickey Rourke as the aging wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson. He truly embodies his character, possibly because his career so closely resembles it, since he used to be huge and then fell off the map for a while. However, here, he firmly cements his place in history with a phenomenal acting performance. Marisa Tomei is also great here (she makes a great stripper, as expected) and Evan Rachel Wood does a great job as Rourke's daughter. The direction from Darren Aronofsky is also characteristically strong. While I personally prefer "The Fountain" and "Black Swan", "The Wrestler" is a fantastic addition to his filmography. The film is touching, triumphant, and moving, in all the best ways and will have you standing up and cheering by the end. The soundtrack is also great here with all the tracks from the 80's being a clear throwback to the days when "The Ram" reigned supreme. The cinematography is great and whole look and feel work really well here. Overall, The Wrestler is a film that succeeds in really every way imaginable thanks to the dynamite pairing of Aronofsky and Rourke. Expand
  20. Feb 14, 2014
    8
    Aronofsky-style movie about loneliness, despair, regrets and it is great, it's not that pressing as Requiem For A Dream but still it's pretty depressive as all other Aronofsky movies. It leaves you heavy hearted. Mickey Rourke made an outstanding performance.
  21. Nov 15, 2012
    6
    The stellar performances make up for a cliched plot and a weak script.
  22. Nov 9, 2012
    10
    This is how you tell a tale.
  23. Oct 3, 2013
    9
    It's a sad, sad film. Mickey Rourke delivers once in a lifetime performance. I liked how the focus did not stray from the main character. There were no bad guys and no pressure to perform against some hunk for glory, instead it stuck with the main character faithfully and did him true justice. I was introduced to the dark side of wrestling with a hammer to the head. This guy deserves some recognition for his efforts. Expand
  24. May 23, 2013
    9
    The Wrestler is an excellent film. One of the most depressing, yet utterly real dramas I have ever seen. Mickey Rourke gives an incredible performance as Randy "The Ram" Robinson. He is worthy of every praise he received and i'm so thrilled he was able to come away with at least an Oscar nomination. Alongside Rourke is Marisa Tomei as the aging stripper, and Evan Rachel. Both give terrific supporting performances. The cinematography is top notch, brilliantly capturing the depressing tone of the film. A memorable film by Darren Aronofsky! Expand
  25. Mar 23, 2013
    8
    Mickey Rourke plays convincing role as over-the-hill professional wrestler who is clinging on to his past. One of the best sport dramas around, although the main character owes some credit to the documentary film "Beyond the Mat".
  26. Jun 30, 2013
    8
    An outstanding performance by Mickey Rourke who, I think, should have got that Oscar. The actual wrestling only tells half the story. Outside of the arena, I believe, is where The Wrestler is most strong. Here is where we experience the heartbreaking story of this highly acclaimed wrestler and really goes on in his life. A big thumbs up to this movie!
  27. Mar 9, 2014
    10
    Instant Classic, and it is a must see for any wrestling fan, but it is still excellent even if you don't watch wrestling. The story was amazing and Mickey Rourke played the part amazingly. Pure excellence.
  28. May 15, 2014
    9
    The usually astonishing Darren Aronofsky gives us another great film, Mickey Rourke puts on an heartbreaking performance as an washed up wrestler, Marisa Tomei is at her best since "In The Bedroom"
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. The Wrestler is like "Rocky" made by the Scorsese of "Mean Streets." It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art.
  2. 70
    Whatever Aronofsky did -- or didn't -- do, Rourke's performance comes off beautifully. The Wrestler may not be the "best" Aronofsky movie in any technical sense. But the director clearly feels a great deal of tenderness toward his lead character.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    80
    Bolstered by a career-best performance from Mickey Rourke and outstanding work by Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.