Climb into the squared circle with the third film of our Darren Aronofsky retrospective, The Wrestler. Serving as both a love letter to and exposé of the professional wrestling industry, The Wrestler offers an authentic depiction of the misunderstood art of wrestling never seen on film.
In the 1980s Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was one of the biggest names in professional wrestling. Today, his star has faded and he wrestles in front of small crowds at high school gyms while making a living bagging groceries. Eventually, a heart attack forces him into retirement and Randy struggles to find a life for himself outside of the industry to which he dedicated 20 years of his life.
Bolstered by a supporting cast including Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, and anchored by a career-defining performance from Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler offers a brutal and painful glimpse into the sacrifices made for the wrestling industry which casual audiences shrugged off as “fake.”
“The ground-level, almost documentary-style 1970s grubby realism Aronofsky brought to its visual style was a big part of what makes the film so shattering.” — Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve
“Mickey Rourke plays the battered, broke, lonely hero, Randy (“The Ram”) Robinson. This is the performance of his lifetime, will win him a nomination, may win him the Oscar. Like many great performances, it has an element of truth.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times
“Director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriter Robert D. Siegel provide the setting for this performance, and the result is some kind of true American poem.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle