Southpaw is the normal stance for a left-handed boxer.
The movie revolved around Billy Hope, a boxing champion who had it all… an impressive career and lifestyle with a loving wife and daughter but all came crashing through when a tragedy struck him which resulted into losing his family and career. His new focus is now to get back into his feet for justice and having his daughter back.
I know that this seem to be a cliche sports movie but it has been a long time since I saw a movie as intense as Southpaw. I felt a lot of Rocky references in the film and it had all the elements of a good action drama movie that really connected with me emotionally from the moment tragedy struck him, his coping, his relationship with his daughter, the struggle up until his ascendancy. There is a gritty tone to the flick and everything is just riveting and intense until the end especially the climax scene. I am no boxing fanatic but all I see in this film is like I am watching a real boxing match with a side life story and background of the boxer. The cinematography and the editing were really good, bravo to the director himself. The scoring really suited the movie, well, it was the genius James Horner (RIP) himself who did the musical score and that Eminem song just perfectly fit the movie and I got the vibe of his ‘8 mile’ Oscar winning song ‘Lose Yourself’ into it.
I just enjoyed the movie even though the first hour of it seems to be dragging. I understand the first 3o minutes of the flick gave way for character and story development and I can surpass that sluggishness however, they could’ve made the pacing a bit smarter and faster when he hit rock bottom. This was a little issue but I can forgive them because I love the movie.
I love how Jake Gyllenhall really committed about all the characters he played and this is no exemption. I did not see a bit of Jake here but the boxer Billy Hope. His transformation is really impressive including his training for the action sequences. I really got lost in his character especially acting performance. I get to feel his anguish and pain when he lost his wife and struggle to accept the new reality of him losing everything. If this movie has a big buzz during Oscars, I can see a nomination for Jake as Best Actor. I also applaud Rachel McAdams’ solid performance though short a screen time. I really felt the chemistry between her and Jake as a couple in the movie, I felt the genuineness of her character as a wife and a mother. Oona Laurence did a great job as Leila Hope, I also felt her pain not just of losing her mother but also the hate to her father for letting her down in times of grief and trials. Forrest Whittaker here is also phenomenal. All I see is his character Titus, how dedicated he is as a trainer and a mentor to Billy. Well, everyone was great in the flick including 5o Cent and Rita Ora (though a very short role).
I like how the filmmaker provided some lessons. It taught us about anger and how it consumes us. It reminded us about the consequences it brings when we easily react without thinking and the effect that goes with it. I love how the movie depicts a different way of getting justice by redemption, validation and acceptance. It really taught us time and time again to find that strength which holds you up so you can dust yourself up and try again (I’ll borrow the lyrics though) because there is always a second chance for everyone as long as you are alive… so, I will remind myself that as well!
All in all, it is an excellent and exceptional film, easily becomes one of my favorite movies this year. I will give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Fun fact: the movie was supposed to be made with Eminem as the lead character but backed out due to schedule conflict so Fuqua asked Jake to take this role. The latter trained for 8 months until he got his boxing built.
Photo credits to the studio who made it,