!!!! I don’t think I knew the meaning of the word ‘heartbreaking’ until I saw this film. Yes, film.
So, Southpaw is this fighting movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer, Billy Hope, and it’s produced by Eminem I think- he sings the song that’s being used in all the promos at least (It’s no Lose Yourself but it’s alright). He went on a public access cable show in Michigan that Steven Colbert hosted to promote it which ended up being the best 45 minutes I’ve ever spent, so there’s that.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the main dude and his wife is played by Rachel McAdams and SPOILER ALERT she’s only in like the first 30 minutes of the movie because she gets shot and killed at a charity event (what is this The OC?) but she does SUCH a good job. It’s incredible. She’s so convincingly this woman- and it’s not just the ringside stereotype wife thing-where she needs a “man” and hypes her husband up with threats to his masculinity/honor-anything like that. She’s concerned and loyal but also firm and resolute. It’s honestly a really impressive job. They both grew up in an orphanage which is where they met and have been together ever since they were twelve. They have a daughter, Leila, who God bless her, wears glasses. I don’t know why that was such a good detail to me but in these movies the kids never have glasses! Or braces. It was nice to see a be-speckled child in a movie who wasn’t being picked on or winning a spelling bee. Although actually Leila does spell a lot of things in the movie.
Anyway. They go to this charity thing for a children’s home- oh also Billy’s manager is 50 Cent. I forget his name in the movie, but you don’t need it. He’s also been with the family forever but there’s a money aspect to the whole thing and one of Rachel’s few scenes she’s saying no to this contract 50 wants Billy to sign agreeing to three more fights in two years for 30 million dollars. She says she wants him to take a break and take some time off. Which I know are synonyms but they say them like they’re different and I got caught up.
There’s this new young fighter (THERE ALWAYS IS) Miguel something. He has been interrupting press conferences, making snide comments, your classic new fighter loose cannon behavior. Well, the charity event is no different except this time he insults Rachel (Whose name is Mauren/Mo) and keeps calling her a bitch and saying he’s gonna fuck her. Which, if I’ve learned anything from all my time watching movies about street fighting/boxing: if someone ever says they’re gonna fuck your bitch you gotta walk away man. Bernardo should have walked away in West Side Story and Billy should have walked away here. But, alas.
Someone’s gun goes off-I think Hector’s? It’s never clarified who did it, the gun got shuffled around and removed from the scene before the police got there and nobody talked so we don’t know. Also filing a police report doesn’t seem to be anyone’s favored channel of revenge. Billy goes looking for Hector to kill him but ends up finding a VERY bruised and strung-out Rita Ora, who only doesn’t die because she has kids and Billy is reminded of Leila and throws up in the hallway. Then he crashes his car into a tree on his property with a loaded gun in the car and child services is like “Nope.” They take away his daughter because there’s no family to take her (they were both orphans remember?) and he has to get drug tested/take anger management classes for 30 days while she stays in a center.
So begins the second chapter of our tale, the Rebuild. Billy is broken, his wife is dead, his daughter got taken away, and he had to sell his house/possessions to pay a debt to the government.
(The money thing was a little iffy, I find it hard to believe he went that bankrupt that fast- they tried to paint it like his wife was the one in charge of everything and it just fell apart without her; but I have a hard time believing someone who was making 10 million dollars a fight didn’t have ANY money saved. They loved Leila, were they not preparing for her to go to college? Idk, the spool unraveled a little too fast for me on this front but oh well)
In addition to everything else, his trainer and manager both left him to train/manage Miguel (cold) and he has to give up drugs and alcohol per the courts’ orders. So he gets a shitty apartment and goes to the gym of the trainer who coached the one fighter who ever beat him (he won the fight because his coach paid off the judges, but he knew in his heart he lost). This trainer happens to be (drumroll) Forest Whitaker!!! He did a good job. It was a little too Black Man As Wise Mentor for my taste, but still did a good job.
Um, so Forest doesn’t allow cursing, drinking, drugs, any of that in his gym so Billy cleans up his act and they train- he teaches him a new fighting style, comprised of a lot more blocking which is good because Billy did not appear to open his left eye for the first 45 minutes of the movie cause it was always swelled shut.
***Training montage where it shows him getting better***
Then there’s a charity match which Billy’s allowed to participate in because you don’t need a license for charity (his was revoked because he head-butted a ref at his last fight) now I’m remembering that’s where a lot of the money stuff came from, he was being sued by HBO for breach of contract and sued by the ref and they lost that money, so maybe it did make sense. He wins and there’s a lot of press, 50 comes back to offer him a fight and says he can get him an early review and get his license re-instated. Billy wants to do it, Whitaker balks, they argue and both leave upset.
Then this kid who Billy had taken under his tattooed broken wing at the gym died, (Hoppy) shot by his father (just like Marvin Gaye) and they remember what’s important and bond over that, and decide to do the fight. Meanwhile his daughter is still in protective custody because he got another 30 days of observation ordered by the court and his daughter doesn’t want to see him cause she’s mad and Forest is like, “You gotta let her be mad! This isn’t about you!” Which was helpful.
Basically, he wins the fight, the fight itself was AWESOME, and I loved the movie. He gets his daughter back, everything ends up being alright.
7/10 will masturbate again so many times