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Cinderalla Man (2005) and the I’ll See You at Home Moment

The One-Line Summary: During the American Great Depression, ex-fighter James Braddock (Russell Crowe) is, like much of the country, barely getting by, unable to pay bills and put food on the table, but with fierce determination and a never-give-up attitude, manages to get back in the ring for another shot and shocks the world as he punches his way straight for a bout with the Heavyweight Champion, Max Bear (Craig Bierko), carrying the hopes and dreams of all those disenfranchised at home (or homeless) looking for a hero.

The Two-Line Blurb: Directed by Ron Howard, Cinderella Man (the second pairing of Howard and Crowe) is another come from behind underdog story about a hero with a heart of gold, but is so passionately performed by Crowe and confidently directed by Howard, it feels fresh. While some liberties were taken with this true-life story (something Howard was accused of in A Beautiful Mind as well) of Braddock and especially his final opponent Baer, who many claim was not the villainous man portrayed in the film, the rousing story is great not for its boxing, as there are enough of those, but for its compelling story of a man who is truly good and never gives in.

The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is all about motivation and begins when Braddock’s longtime friend and manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a chance to get back in the ring for some much-needed cash. Braddock does well and Gould offers him more, much to Braddock’s wife Mae’s (Renée Zellweger) worry, though Braddock continues to win and eventually a shot at the title against Max Baer, the ruthless champion, is a possibility. Baer is a ferocious fighter, with a punch so powerful it’s reported he’s killed two men in the ring, a fact that has Mae terrified and “The Cinderalla Man”, as Braddock has been dubbed facing his biggest challenge.

The Four-Line Moment: Braddock, in public, shows no fear of the impending match, much to Baer’s frustration who attempts to intimidate his opponent and telling Mae that her husband might not survive the fight, which prompts her to throw a drink in his face. So disturbed by the prospect of losing her husband in the ring, she vows not to watch or even listen on the radio, planning on staying home and waiting alone for him to return. The night of the bout, Braddock and Gould are in the locker room preparing for the fight when suddenly, Mae walks in and, once Gould gives them the room, pulls an Adrian in tears, inspiring her husband to go into the ring strong and proud. The moment is perhaps cliche, but it works surprisingly well, as both Crowe and Zellweger feel so genuine.

The Five-Word Review: Crow delivers a knockout performance.

Clip courtesy Movieclips




Ron Howard


Cliff Hollingsworth (screenplay), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)


Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti

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  1. Andrew December 30, 2015
    • David December 31, 2015