1) The Fighter
Perhaps the most recent movie to closely examine the relationship between two brothers this well, 2010’s The Fighter is a fascinating look at the life and career of Micky Ward and his rocky relationship with his family, most notably his brother, Dicky. The two are played spectacularly by the consistently solid Mark Wahlberg and the metamorphosizing man that is Christian Bale. The dynamic between the two feels very much like one between two brothers that have achieved varying levels of success, with Dicky serving as Micky’s trainer and both seemingly on the decline, Dicky in particular, whose former fame is now just a shadow in the midst of severe drug problems.
Being older, Dicky’s the one whose superstardom in the boxing ring came first, and being more generally extroverted and self-promoting, his achievements seem to overshadow Micky’s more modest career. What makes this movie feel like it truly captures the unique dynamics a family can often possess is how hesitant Micky is to stand up to his family; being the younger of the two and having a bunch of sisters and a mother who outnumber him at all times, he’s used to being relatively deferential, receding to the background. That’s what makes his ascent to greatness so satisfying to see. At the same time, he can’t completely escape where he comes from, and who he’s known all his life, his family. Even as he asserts himself, he relies on Dicky, and their connection is one he can never shake, so his greatest triumph is finding a way to make this part of him work for him rather than against him.
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