'The Wrestler'

Mickey Rourke plays a version of himself and every other faded star. He’s great.

Marisa Tomei plays a version of the hooker with a heart of gold who’s been around since cinema began. She’s risky.

Evan Rachel Wood plays the angry abandoned daughter archetype. She’s pretty good.

And the wrestlers are great fun; unsurprisingly sweet-natured and kind to each other.

But the film itself…

Well…it’s not that it’s not very good - it’s a well-made, honest little drama of the kind that looked original in the early 90s (think Soderbergh and James Marsh at the beginning of their careers) but there’s nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before. Stories are stories are stories, I suppose; and there aren’t too many to go around, and I’m delighted to see anything that denies the quick fix cosmetic ease with which movie characters often resolve their problems - even ‘Changeling’, perhaps the bleakest story I saw at the cinema this past year, had to have a ‘happy’ ending of some kind. Am also, as listeners will know, a fan of Darren Aronofsky - ‘The Fountain’s one of my favourite films, and ‘Pi’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’ are so effective at building a mood of dread that I don’t ever want to see them again. But ‘The Wrestler’ is a B-movie; I think what saves it is that that’s what it seems Aronofsky was trying to make.