Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » The Wrestler (2008 film) » User review

The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky's 2008 dramatic film about a down and out professional wrestler.

< read all 21 reviews

After he filled "The Fountain", Aronofsky trained "The Wrestler".

  • Feb 25, 2011
**** out of ****

Well, this is rather surprising; Darren Aronofsky directing a sports flick. How about that? So how well does this little stunt pull off? Well, I'll tell you, and believe me; you're going to be surprising. As it turns out, Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" is no stunt at all, but that's not to say that it's the kind of film that you'd expect out of the guy either. Mr. Aronofsky's follow-up to his ambitious, flawed, but indefinitely artsy "The Fountain" proves to be much better than the former; in fact, it might be the man's best film to date. I won't say that "The Wrestler" is better than....say, "Requiem for a Dream"; but that was a pretty great film as well and therefore I don't really care to compare. All I know is that I had a great time with this film; even if at times it is emotionally hard to watch as well as shattering. But that's art, and once again, that's the kind of film that Aronofsky has set out to make. The only difference is that this time, it's not Aronofsky making the movie. In fact, this time it's the star; Mickey Rourke. The man hasn't had a role as good as this in ages, or seemingly, since the day he begun his acting career. He's had some big breaks in the past, but this is just flat-out incredible. I'm usually fascinated when I find a new movie character that really reaches me, so color me surprised by Rourke's work here. I really felt for his character; he makes us feel involved with the guy. The film is exceptionally handled, has the wit and emotional intensity required, and...aw, hell. It has about everything is needs when it comes to an overall well-built drama. There's not a rough spot to it; and the film doesn't set out to be inspirational. Gee, that's a heck of a surprise; since most good sports films are inspirational. But not this one. "The Wrestler" is merely a powerful piece of art; and that's probably why it's as great as it is. And as with all great boxing/wrestling-based sports films, Aronofsky's film asks the question; does the pain stop whilst outside of the ring? We're treated to a lot emotionally here, and this is one of the most beautiful films of 2008. I loved it thoroughly, and it's a film that you shall not forgive it. I think that you should definitely see it.

"The Wrestler" is about, you guessed it, a wrestler. He is an aging one; a guy who has since seen drugs as his last resort. He is having health problems, and he's starting to think that maybe his life in the ring is coming to an end. His name is Robin "The Ram" Ramzinski (his friends call him Randy), and he's having trouble finding out where his life will go once he retires. For recreation, Randy often visits a local strip club to admire a woman who works there. He has a family; although only a daughter, whom he has become increasingly distant from over time. After Randy suffers from a heart attack, he begins to re-think his life mistakes. He visits his daughter, and makes several romantic advances on the woman he lusts for. The film is ultimately sad at the core; with a few happy moments, although really it's a film of extreme emotion. The film is meant to be felt, I think, and the character is what drives the film so well. Many films have shown what a wrestler's life is like outside of the ring, but few have succeeded as well as this one does. I loved this movie because it was not only powerful, but also very well-written. The film is consitently entertaining, and even when it hurts, you stick with it. The film is like an intoxicating, addicting drug; you can't get off it. You need to let it run its course, no matter how hard it may be to watch. The film is heartbreaking in just about every way, thus is might not be for everyone. But it's most certainly for me, and in this case, that is what matters the most.

People have said that Mickey Roarke is a crummy actor. And even with this film existing, some people just won't change their minds about the guy. BUT, if there has ever been a film to allow the viewer to see an actor in new light, then this is the film for Roarke. This is "the performance of a life-time", as many have called it. I agree completely; Roarke has never inhabited a character so well. I almost cried during this film, mostly because this is some of the most honest and thoughtful acting I've seen in ages. I always had hoped that even after his horrid surgery, Roarke could make a come-back in a film. This is that film, and Roarke completely runs the show here. I loved watching him. Marisa Tomei stars as the love interest of Roarke's character, and she's oddly endearing as an otherwise flawed character. I do, however, see what "The Ram" sees in the woman; as a character. Evan Rachel Wood plays the daughter character quite well; bring tension and emotion to certain scenes. There's some pain involved in the acting; although it's the kind of pain that you will feel rewarded for when you finally finish watching it.

Darren Aronofsky is such a talented director. He started out well with "Pi" and then went on to make the equally as fantastic (and more-so disturbing) "Requiem for a Dream". Then he made "The Fountain", which I personally enjoyed, but most people just found pretentious and messy with ideas that it could never execute correctly. Now he has made "The Wrestler", which is in my opinion, his best film thus far. This is a powerful work; a performance piece that feeds off of Aronofsky's taut direction, Robert D. Siegel's emotionally shattering story, and of course, Clint Mansell's wonderful score. Like "Requiem for a Dream", this film has a wonderful and almost bleak visual look. The cinematography is fairly excellent, and it gives the film an artsy feel. Darren Aronofsky is pretty much an original genius, and here he has made a film worthy of his talent. That's right, no "Director's Cut" needed here. No extreme caution needed. No fondles of black-and-white psychological thrillers is needed. This is, as it turns out, not so different for the director after all. It's not really a thriller but more-so a drama; and Aronofksy has definitely tackled that before. I like "The Wrestler" for what it is; a brutally honest little sports film that shouldn't even be properly identified as one. It belongs in a real genre, and that is drama. And it's a masterpiece nevertheless. It may come off as too harsh and too depressing for some, but this is a well-made feature. I love Aronofsky and in this film, I loved Mickey Roarke. They work so darn well together although, despite that, this is probably their only collaboration. And I have no complaints, since you only get one performance of a life-time. This is Roarke's film, not Aronofky's. But the man still directed it, so he still gets some damn good credit for its success. But for once, it's not only his movie. It's also the star's.

"The Wrestler" is really a whole lot more simple than I may be making it out to be. It's really just the story of an aging wrestler who doesn't enjoy his life-time sport in the later days of his life. It's not completely a love story, but it's definitely a dramatic occasion. I love the film because it really captured me emotionally. Sports films tend to TRY to do that, but seldom do they actually get a good grip. "The Wrestler" doesn't even need a grip; it just takes us and chains us to a wall, forcing us to watch while every painful, brutal, violent, or sad thing unfolds. I can't complain, since this is damn good cinema. It's a sad movie at heart; one of the sadder ones I've seen. That's probably why it is special, and before I go further, I must add that it is not fun to watch. That's not an insult, since I admire this film anyways. What I'm trying to say is that when this film wants to be sad as hell, then it's going to literally be "sad as hell". Aronofsky pushes the film to emotional extremes, and this isn't his first time with trying to make the viewer think about the sorrow. "Requiem for a Dream" was very sad. "The Fountain" was kind of sad. But "The Wrestler" is even sadder; a film which does not seek to provoke but rather to deliver a heck of a punch. It's a true winner, and I like the fact that it's not so much about the wrestling but rather about the wrestler. Still, the scenes involving wrestling serve as plot elements and are still very well-done. But they are not what makes this film so great. What makes this film so great is Roarke and Roarke alone. Without the break-through quality of his performance here, it would not have been the special film that it is. I personally find his work here quite fascinating, and I've always respected the guy anyways. But this film makes me want to love him. He's lovable enough as his wrestler persona. I believe that Roarke got an Oscar nomination for his work in the film, although no win. I would have wanted this film to win a good variety of different awards, but no dice on that. But that's the Academy for you. I imagine that Aronofsky will now return to more personal filmmaking, which is always good. But this is still his best film thus far, and I do hope that he can still do as good. Isn't it pretty to think so?

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
February 26, 2011
I loved this movie, Roarke did get the Oscar nod and he SHOULD have won it.
February 26, 2011
Yeah, why didn't he. They're crazy.
February 25, 2011
I watch anything with Marisa Tomei LOL! Then, I became enthralled with the direction and screenplay of this film. Great review. Oh, Ryan, I am out and about, I shall return to read and rate later, this old laptop (not at home) makes it difficult for me to run scripts.
February 25, 2011
Alright, man. You take it easy.
More The Wrestler (2008 film) reviews
review by . August 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I gotta find some of Randy's old matches on Collisum Video
One of thing things I learned after following pro wrestling a few years back is what happened to those names I used to hear about all the time like Jake Roberts and Lex Luger.  I never heard about them dying considering what big names they are, and then I learned a bitter truth.  Those big names and they're big lifestyles came crashing down.  Jake Roberts and Lex Luger were the inspirations for the character of Randy "The Ram" Robinson who is the focus of The Wrestler.   …
review by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE WRESTLER      There have been films made before about wrestling and by wrestling I mean pro wrestling, but none like this. This film is the portrait of a man who is coming to terms with his own mortality, literally and also for his craft. There have been many things said about this movie but there seems to be one constant, and that is Mickey Rourke's masterful performance. For those who have not seen this I can tell you right now that he was …
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2011
Washed up 80's wrestling superstar copes with his rockstar days long gone and living day to day in a very non glamorous life. Runs the rollercoaster of touching, hard, fun and sad.
review by . July 15, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Yin and Yang
WARNING: This review contains spoilers!      There are certain fundamental aspects of American culture in the 1980s that I found to be, for lack of a better word, repugnant. The crassness of commercialism was everywhere, politics went straight to hell as Reaganites celebrated American Right-wing supremacy, music fans suffered through the pangs of the glam rock movement and the superficiality and the hedonistic excesses that it embraced, and the yuppies on Wall Street were idealized …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Mickey gives the kind of performance that we all knew he still had in him. Marisa Tomei was equally amazing.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Powerful movie that depicts the side of wrestling and sports that we may not think about, getting older and dealing with trying to continue doing something you love.
review by . February 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
Stories that delved into the inner human spirit and tales about redemption have been beloved by critics since anyone can remember. Small wonder, since films that exhibit pure humanity can undoubtedly touch the hearts of audiences--it is a premise that is both fascinating and quite easy to relate to. Inspired by the documentary "Beyond the Mat", director Darren Aronofsky's "The WRESTLER" is a film with a lot of things to say, and may well be Mickey Rourke's best performance; this role may indeed …
review by . December 28, 2009
This movie was a huge and pleasant surprise for me.  I thought it would be more about the wrestling sport/soapstory.  Instead we get a compelling tale of a man that was so into the wrestling game that he ignored the rest of his life.  Mickey Rourke plays a wrestler nicknamed The Ram, who can no longer persue wrestling so he soon realizes that his "real" life is total misery and he really has nothing outside of wrestling.        Ram tries to rekindle …
review by . December 08, 2009
A Gripping Look into the Lifestyle of Professional Wrestling, but a Little Over Hyped...
Growing up a wrestling fan and knowing the business inside and out, The Wrestler hit home in a lot of ways.  I wasn't just a wrestling fan, I used to idolize these guys and perhaps one day, be one of them.  As I got older and was able to differentiate what was real and what was fake, I felt I was able to connect even more with them and what they go through because of all the inner politics that go on in the industry.  The minute the film started, I was blown away at just how well …
review by . December 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Outstanding performances by principles; great supporting cast.      Cons: Predictable; slow in places     The Bottom Line: After all the hype surrounding The Wrestler, I expected more.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When I was growing up watching professional wrestling on Saturday afternoons was a ritual in our neighborhood.  All of the “guys” on the street …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie


Robin Ramzinski, ring name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, (Mickey Rourke) is a professional wrestler who was a major star in the 1980s but is now years past his prime and wrestling on the weekends for various independent wrestling promotions in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. After a show, a promoter proposes a 20th anniversary rematch with his most notable opponent, the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller), who now owns a used car dealership in Arizona. Their first match together sold out Madison Square Garden, and Randy agrees to the rematch, wishfully thinking this high-profile match could help him get back to the top.
  • Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson/Robin Ramzinski
  • Marisa Tomei as Cassidy / Pam
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Stephanie Ramzinski
  • Todd Barry as Wayne
  • Ernest Miller as Bob / "The Ayatollah"

Also appearing in the film are actual professional wrestlers: Blue Meanie, Johnny Valiant, Ref Hanson, Tommy Rotten, Andrew Anderson, Brolly, Danny Inferno, Necro Butcher, Mike "RAGE" Miller, Paul E. Normus (who died in early 2009), Nick Berk, DJ Hyde, Havoc, Johnny Mangus, Billy Dream, Eric Cobian, Sabian, Nate Hatred, Sugga, L.A. Smooth, Whacks, Devon Moore, The Funky Samoans, Jay Lethal, Jim Powers, Kid USA (as Randy's stunt double), Ron Killings, Claudio Castagnoli, Romeo Roselli, John Zandig, Chuck Taylor and Nigel McGuinness.

The Wrestler is a 2008 drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring ...
view wiki


Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport
Release Date: December 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Robert D. Siegel
DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Wild Bunch, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Protozoa Pictures
Polls with this movie
Elegy (film)

Top Movies of 2008


© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since