From shadow to light, with Russell Crowe, or Ron Howard’s marshmallow cinema [critique]



In 2005, this boxing film rebroadcast this weekend on Arte had not really convinced Première…

Once a promising boxer, Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe) was forced to give up competition after a series of defeats. As America sinks into the Great Depression, Jim accepts any odd job to support his wife Mae (Renée Zellweger) and their children. However, he does not give up the hope of one day getting back into the ring.

Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, Jim is called up to fight the world’s second-biggest challenger, and to everyone’s amazement, he wins in the third round. Despite his lower weight than his opponents and repeated injuries to his hands, he accumulates victories. Carrying the hopes and dreams of the poorest, the one now nicknamed “Cinderella Man” is about to face Max Baer (Craig Bierko), the formidable world champion who has already killed two men in combat…

From the shadow to the light will return this Sunday evening on Arte, followed by a documentary on Sylvester Stallone, alias Rocky. When it was released in the fall of 2005, First had been disappointed by this biopic signed Ron Howard. Not as much as for his trilogy Da Vinci Codebut we are still far from the successes ofApollo 13 or of Rush

Here’s our review: Once again Australian Russell Crowe plays a forgotten American hero. John Braddock was one of those remarkable boxers who made a spectacular comeback after several years of enforced inactivity. Marshmallow film expert Ron Howard and his fearsome screenwriter Akiva Goldman have managed to make their characters dripping puppets of goodness, even in the worst situations. The period re-enactment impresses, as do the rugged boxing scenes, but there’s a constant feeling of drowning in lukewarm molasses.


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