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The Fighter Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Fantastic family feuding. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Packs an emotional punch. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    So like much of this film, the viewer is turned into an observer. You never feel close enough to the action, either in the ring or in the kitchens, living rooms and tough streets where the story takes place. The characters engage you up to a point but never really pull you in.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Visionary director David O. Russell so deftly weaves the family's story that we, too, are initially seduced by Dicky.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    This one, as thoughtful as it is rousing, scores a TKO.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Fighter reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Boxing biopic mixes inspiring story, mature content.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this biopic about boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) grapples with some very tough themes -- including weighing the importance of family versus the importance of a career and exerting your own true self. While the characters and messages are ultimately positive, the movie is filled with boxing violence, some of it bloody, and strong language, including "f--k" and "s--t." There's no nudity, but characters are shown flirting, kissing, and sleeping together. And in addition to plenty of drinking and smoking, one major character is portrayed as a crack addict. Taken altogether, the movie is too rough for younger teens but inspirational for older, more mature viewers.

  • Families can talk about the film's violence. How did the boxing scenes affect you? How does this kind of violence compare to what you see in big-budget action movies? Which has greater impact?
  • Did Mickey make the right choice by leaving his family behind to further his career? Should he have had to make that choice at all?
  • Was Dicky Eklund an inspirational character? Do you believe he actually knocked Sugar Ray down? Why would he live a life of drugs after such glory?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie is about beating the odds, overcoming challenges, empathy, and, ultimately, staying true to yourself. There are also complex messages relating to family: The hero must decide whether to leave his family behind to further his career; the point is made subtly but clearly that his family doesn't actually have his best interests in mind, and it makes sense that he should make the tough decision to move ahead.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Mickey is a fairly inspirational hero. He's a good fighter who lives in the shadow of his brother and therefore doesn't get the consideration he deserves from his family. He must make the very tough decisions to leave them behind to further his career and to stand up to them to get everything he wants and deserves. He doesn't give up easily, even when he's facing impossible odds and defeat looks almost certain.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Lots of boxing violence, including punching, hitting, pummeling, and some spattering blood. The heroes get into a fight with the cops, and the cops smash the hero's hand with a billy club. The hero's girlfriend gets into a knock-down, drag-out fight with the hero's sisters, cousins, and mothers.

  • sex false3

    Sex: The main character's love interest, who works in a bar, wears skimpy clothes on the job and is shown as the object of men's sexual gaze. She and the hero kiss, seduce one another, and sleep together (no graphic nudity). She also appears in a see-through bra in one scene. Secondary characters are occasionally seen kissing and groping.

  • language false4

    Language: Heavy language includes many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bastard," "c--ksucker," "d--k," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "goddamn," and "oh my God."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: HBO and Budweiser are mentioned, and the logos are shown several times in conjunction with big-time boxing matches.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: An important secondary character has a drug problem. He's seen smoking crack, and the movie shows how the drug ruins his life. He becomes the subject of a documentary about "crackheads." Characters are also often seen drinking socially and smoking cigarettes.