Southpaw is the story of an undefeated boxing champion who gets caught up in a tailspin of tragic events.
His wife is killed in a brawl outside a press conference and his child is removed from his custody by the state. It is the story of his attempts to rebuild his life and regain the only thing that still matters when all falls apart – his daughter.
When I sat down to watch the movie I expected something totally different from what was delivered. I expected dramatic fights, larger than life Hollywood characters, glamour, cheesy music and, of course, a story of struggle and redemption, just like Rocky and 1000 other boxing movies.
I was wrong!
Southpaw is, if I could only pick one word to sum it up: “Real”! Other terms that come to mind are gritty, street and on-edge. This is the story of a man who had nothing, came up through a genuine struggle fuelled by his rage, lost it all, and realized that nothing mattered other than his family.
Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarhead, Zodiac) delivers a masterful performance, embodying the spirit of a character who never forgets where he came from and who is fighting not just for his career, but for his soul. He cuts a shape that would put many professional athletes to shame, and it is without a doubt the best performance of his career. The truth is I would have been unable to place his name before this movie, but now I will likely never forget who he is.
Southpaw is not a movie about boxing, although it does wear the gloves and shorts.
It is a movie about life. It is a movie about the unbreakable spirit of humanity in the face of countless obstacles and disasters beyond our control. It is a story of despair, hope and redemption. It is a story which teaches an old tale – that when everything falls apart, a man finds out who he is and what he is made of, who his real friends are, and what matters most. It is a story about love; a man’s love for his family.
If you don’t watch Southpaw you are depriving yourself of one of the greatest cinematic experiences of this year.
It is not what you’d expect, but instead so much more! Combine a fantastic story with a few gorgeous ladies, 50 Cent in a purple suit, a killer Soundtrack by Eminem and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) playing a parallel role to Gyllenhaal in the tired old boxing coach, and you have all the makings of the best movie of 2015.
I give it 5 stars without reservation. Southpaw is my kind of movie!