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Running Time:
2 hours, 24 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for intense boxing violence and some language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An exciting, inspirational, and beautifully directed drama with another award-worthy performance by Russell Crowe. This is a real winner!

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard; Feature Commentary with Writer Akiva Goldsman; Feature Commentary with Writer Cliff Hollingsworth; Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Ron Howard; The Fight Card: Casting Cinderella Man; The Man, The Movie, The Legend: A Filmmaking Journey; For the Record: A History in Boxing; Ringside Seats; Jim Braddock: The Friends & Family Behind the Legend; Kodak Cinderella Man Gallery; DVD-ROM Features.

Cinderella Man
During the dark days of the Great Depression millions of Americans were out of work and many families had to turn to extreme measures in order to survive. We see James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) searching in vain for employment down at the docks when he's not boxing. There is no food for his wife (Renee Zellweger), and three kids. And when he comes home to his cramped one-room apartment, with a broken hand, having been beaten mercilessly in the ring as his boxing career falters, his wife is both supportive and scared. His desperation turns to panic when their apartment’s heat is turned off, and Braddock realizes that fighting might be his only hope. Fate intervenes when a fighter scheduled to box against the number 2 heavyweight contender, Corn Griffin, has to back out of a preliminary bout to a world championship fight at Madison Square Garden. Needing someone quick, trainer Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) turns to Braddock, his former protégé, with the promise of more money than he's seen in months ($250). Braddock steps into the ring a decided underdog with hope of perhaps lasting a round or two. But, Braddock stuns his trainer, the press, the audience in the arena, when he beats Griffin and begins the process of reviving a seemingly dead career. It is director Ron Howard's beautifully rendered depiction of Braddock’s bad times prior to his later triumphs, that allows us to understand who this man is, why he’s doing what he’s doing and how he overcomes seemingly-insurmountable odds to leave both the crowds and his opponents stunned. But it's the magnificent portrayal by Russell Crowe that makes the film totally believable. He’s a strong man, but also wounded one, one who's aware of when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to swallow his pride. In one of the film’s most heartbreaking scenes, Braddock begs his former colleagues for spare change so that he can have his heat turned back on. Zellweger is a perfect counterpoint to Crowe, too strong to seem sappy and too heartbroken over her family to seem naïve or artificial. And Giamatti plays the shrewd but smart manager, always in Crowe’s corner. They have made thesir small proles into gems, and at awards time next year, they won't be foverlooked. Last year's best picture “Million Dollar Baby” built to what happens after the fight is over. “Cinderella Man” is more about what happens before the fight and how, punch by punch, one man uses the ring to bring his family back from the brink. From a technical standpoint, the film is amazing. As in both "Ali" and "Raging Bull," you feel like you're in the ring with Braddock and you feel every blow he takes. The score by Thomas Newman (American Beauty) is very subtle, but fits the film perfectly, nicely incorporating period music as he did in both "Road to Perdition" and "Shawshank Redemption." The art direction, costume design and editing are also perfection as well. This is truly one of the best films of this or any year.

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