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The Wrestler Review Critics


Dave White Profile

...kind of sentimental and corny Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The Wrestler is like "Rocky" made by the Scorsese of "Mean Streets." It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This is Rourke doing astonishing physical acting.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The story has its clichéd and sentimental moments. It's no "Raging Bull," more like "Rocky" shot with a handheld camera. But Rourke's wounded tough guy is undeniably captivating.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Bolstered by a career-best performance from Mickey Rourke and outstanding work by Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Wrestler reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Brilliant drama about rough redemption is for adults only.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this critically acclaimed indie drama is a strong, brilliant, fierce film -- for adults only. The acting, direction, and writing are of Oscar caliber, but there's extensive nudity, unflinching violence, drinking, drug use/abuse, and swearing. The film is also moody and complex, depicting the physical and moral consequences of the characters' work as "professionals" in the economy of entertainment.

  • Families can talk aboutthe nature of the "fake" violence depicted in the wrestling matches -- is it really "fake" if people are bleeding?
  • What's the appeal of professional wrestling to begin with? What makes it compelling entertainment?
  • Is it as popular now as it was in the '80s? Why or why not?
  • Discuss the similarities between Randy and Cassidy,who both make low pay selling their bodies (he wrestles, she strips).What effect does that have on their self-esteem? Their relationshipswith others?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie thematically looks at the appeal of wrestling and violent entertainment, as well as adult "entertainment" like stripping.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Most parents would not want their kids to be like anyone in the movie. A wrestling character, "The Ayatollah," is a racistcaricature. A nude female dancer is mocked due to her age. The maincharacter cluelessly theorizes that his daughter is a lesbian. On the plus side, the lead character makes an effort to reach out to his estrangeddaughter.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Repeated, extensive and graphic "fake" wrestling action violence, which nonetheless involves real pain and blood. Characters use concealed razors to create bloody wounds for show in the ring; a lead character is battered, pummelled, slapped, struck with furniture, beaten with a window, and even assaulted with a staple gun (with staples punched into his flesh) in the ring. The lead character also inflicts abuse on others in the ring, striking an opponent with a table, a crutch wrapped with barbed wire, and more. The consequences of this violence are depicted in extensive detail, in terms of both long-term physical trauma and immediate suffering. Some fighting and scuffling outside of the ring. A character suffers a heart attack and must have a bypass; surgical scars are seen. A character rams his thumb into a meat slicer.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Extensive female full-frontal nudity, with many scenes set at a strip club; the club is presented in a fiercely realistic way, without much glamor or gloss. There's a sex scene between two consenting adults who are under the influence of drugs. Male buttocks are seen as a character injects steroids.

  • language false5

    Language: Extensive strong language, including "godammit," "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "ass," "t--s," and much more.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Some brands are visible or mentioned on screen, including Nintendo, Call of Duty 4, Polaroid, bands like RATT and Poison, and more. Some real-world brands are briefly glimpsed in a grocery store.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters smoke, drink beer and hard liquor, and abuse drugs like cocaine and steroids, as well as painkillers. References to marijuana and amphetamines; prescription drug abuse. There are clear negative health effects from the main character's misuse of alcohol, steroids, and other drugs.