I hate boxing. I kind of like wrestling. In boxing your objective is to damage your opponent to the point he can’t go on. Knock him out if possible. Wrestlers try to overpower their opponents with strength, agility, craftiness, strategy. It’s a pretty pure sport, going all the way back to the original Greek Olympic games. It’s damn ironic that so-called professional “wrestling” has degenerated into a blood orgy that only a demented 8-year-old could enjoy. In high school and college and the Olympics it’s a serious sport, as it is in many other countries. In America, once out of college there’s nowhere for a wrestler to go.
Okay, this isn’t really a wrestling movie, but there’s wrestling in it. Thankfully, the story outside the ring is much more important. Small-time loser team gets a star, and an inspiration, and goes on to win the state championship, right? That’s your normal story arc. Not here. And though it will remind you of The Blind Side, it’s not a story of a man going to big-time success in professional sports, either. I won’t get into the plot, except to say that it’s about making a wrong choice and the consequences that can ensue, and about the chance of redemption. Paul Giamatti is as good as he always is, and the supporting cast is great, too