Cinderella Man is directed by Ron Howard (who has also directed A beautiful Mind, also starring Russell Crowe-my all time favorite movie) and is titled after the nickname and inspired by the real life story of former Heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock. The movie tells the quintessentially American story of a man who was not so much a great boxer as a great man who boxed his way out of darkness and defeat and into the stuff of immortality.
Russell Crowe stars as Jim Braddock, whose single-minded devotion to family and dignity became just as famous as his tricky feints and killer left hook. The story begins when Braddock-once full of promise-is forced into retirement from boxing after a run of bad luck, just as America itself is sliding into the most frightening hard economic times the nation has ever known-The Great Depression (The recent recession we saw is nothing compared to Great Depression). Facing imminent poverty, Jim wants only to do right by the woman who has always been his source of strength-his feisty wife Mae. At first, he takes a string of dead-end dock jobs that only seem to leave him poorer. But soon, the tightly-wedded couple are drowning in debt and emotionally devastated to see their children shivering in an unheated apartment amid the dead of a Jersey winter.
Then, as a result of the efforts of Jim’s indefatigable manager, Joe Gould (played by Paul Giamatti), Jim gets an out-of-the-blue, last-ditch shot to fight in Madison Square Garden-and more importantly, a chance to put some food on the table for those he loves. Despite being too old, too hungry and too injured to be considered a real contender-and in direct opposition to Mae’s strident fears for her husband’s life-Braddock nevertheless steps back into the ring without any training. Stunning the crowd and the media, he knocks out his rising-star opponent…thanks in part to a powerful hook developed during countless hours of dock work. But it doesn’t stop there. His career re-ignited, he starts to dig his family, victory by victory, out of their hole.
And the more he wins, the more Jim Braddock unwittingly becomes a folk hero, until it is as if every time he stands up to an opponent, he is standing up for the millions just like him battling to take care of their families and keep alive their sidelined dreams.
Then, finally, comes the match of Braddock’s life, as he boldly agrees to face off against world heavyweight champ Max Baer, a cocky powerhouse of a fighter with a punch so lethal he has already killed two men in the ring. Some say that Braddock will never even survive the match. Indeed, the odds are ten to one in Baer’s favor as Braddock steps into his corner. But Jim Braddock has a different view: that this time he knows in his heart the incredible stakes for which he is fighting.
Says director Ron Howard: “The story of Jim Braddock continues to be so incredibly stirring because it is a tale that reminds us of just how remarkable human endurance and the power of love can be. Cinderella Man is a true American story about what it’s like to cope in the moment, facing life’s daily hardships, and to continue to passionately strive toward a goal-even a simple one like putting food on the table-no matter what the outcome turns out to be. It’s that kind of story, that kind of cinematic journey that has always intrigued me as a filmmaker.”
Cinderella Man is a true American fairy-tale with a Hollywood-ending. It highlights the country’s strength, its optimism to be able to make it if only you believe in yourself and work hard. In short, it is another movie about the American Dream.
You can preview the book Cinderella man by Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman (script writers of the movie) and read the script of the movie at Google books.