Randy “The Ram” Robinson is a faded professional wrestler who should not be taking part in the sport anymore. Due to his health he really should be retired, but that is not going to stop him with one last bout as he struggles with his new found life outside of the ring.
The Wrestler is about and 80’s wrestling icon Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) who in recent years fell from his place at the top of the wrestling tree, in present day he wrestles in low key wrestling events at small venues on the weekend. While living in a trailer and working in a warehouse at a supermarket. He struggles to pay the rent as his money from the shows goes on drugs and strippers as he likes to visit a strip club forming a relationship with Cassidy (Tomei). After a very good hardcore match featuring a staple gun, table, ladders and many other weapons. Randy suffers a heart attack and must have a heart bypass to save his life. Thus he is then told he cannot wrestle again.
For Randy the thought of never being able to wrestle again is the worst possible thing for him to deal with, he then gets a job on the meat counter in the supermarket on the weekends when he would usually wrestle. While this is going on he tries to get back into his asstranged daughter Stephanie’s (Wood) life. A fantastic scene occurs between Randy and Stephanie when she eventually agrees to talk to him.
“I’m an old broken down piece of meat and I deserve to be all alone, I just don’t want you to hate me.”
Is what Randy tells Stephanie at this point he is crying, as I was as well. Throughout the film Rourke does a fantastic job of making the audience really feel the same why he does totally breaking your heart throughout. As you really do want everything to work out for him as the film goes on.
The main problem for Randy was that a match which was going to be a re-match of his biggest win back in the 80’s was organised before his heart attack. He then decides he is going to do it anyway even though he should not wrestle again. He tells Cassidy this and she does try to stop him just before he goes out to wrestle in what is possibly his last match ever. She tells him “I am really here”. But only Randy understands that the only thing that makes him feel alive is stepping into the ring and performing for his adoring fans.
Every now and then a film will come along that I really take to heart and instantly becomes a favorite after the first viewing, and yes “The Wrestler” is one of them. Ironically the last film that done that to me was another sport based film “Million Dollar Baby”. I have a soft spot for sport films, and often taken aback by them, I guess I feel I can relate to them in some ways of wanting to compete at your sport no matter what obstacles are placed in your way.
This film really touched me and I totally fell in love with it even from seeing the trailer before I got to see the full film. Bruce Springsteen’s song of the same name “The Wrestler” wrote especially for the film makes it even more touching, as it really does describe the character so perfectly and well worth sitting through the credits at the end of the film, while making your own mind up what happened after the screen went black.
If Mickey Rourke does not win the Oscar for his role, then he really would be robbed, he blows the rest of the competition away even in such a strong category.