Well, I finally got around to seeing the film â€œCinderella Manâ€, the Ron Howard film about the life of Jim Braddock starring Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger. My curiosity was piqued by none other than Michael Medved when he said, in an offhanded way, that it did not get the attention that it deserved.
Call me a cynic, but I figured that if Hollywood and the PC media were looking the other way, it must have redeeming qualities.
Boy did it ever! I have found Ron Howard films to be pretty politically neutral â€“ as was this one; but the protagonist (Braddock) was a humble man of staunch character â€“ the classic American Hero.
Iâ€™m sure that the faces of any lefties watching this film turned as red as the star on their Chairman Mao caps. Braddock went to heroic lengths to keep his family together â€“ including demeaning himself by begging, and applying for assistance. Later, when he could afford it, he paid back the assistance money (see what I mean?). While he sacrificed his pride, he never wavered regarding morality. I doubt if many people could make that distinction today.
The Great Depression was Bradockâ€™s tormenter in the first part of the film, then it became personified in the form World Champion Heavyweight Max Baer. In the film, Max Baer was (can you guess?) a single, garishly wealthy, egomaniacal womanizer â€“ the stereotype of todayâ€™s Hollywood celebrity. During the ultimate battle between good and evil (the fight between Baer and Braddock), Baer engages in all forms of gamesmanship, from verbal taunting of the most vulgar kind, to illegal punches including low blows and a backhand. Braddock is the intensely focused professional, fighting for the welfare of his family.
The film is technically very good, and the acting of Crowe and Zellweger is great. Itâ€™s probably Howardâ€™s best film. Itâ€™s also the best boxing film since â€œThe Harder They Fallâ€, even though it is not a boxing film per se.
If you have a child who is old enough to watch fight sequences, and/or you thirst for a tale that champions traditional values, donâ€™t rent this film â€“ buy a copy!