"The Wrestler"—A Painful Portrait

Stacy W.L.Correspondent IApril 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 14:  Actor Mickey Rourke attends the announcement of boxer Oscar De La Hoya's retirement from boxing on April 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

I just finished watching "The Wrestler" on DVD.  To be more specific, I just finished crying after watching "The Wrestler." 

For those of you who haven't seen it, the story follows a professional wrestler, played by Mickey Rourke, through the masochistic rituals he goes through to prepare his body for a match and through some extremely painful fights in an attempt to reimagine his life story. 

Randy "The Ram's" love interest is a stripper, and the film portrays wrestling throughout as the male version of selling one's body.  Although many moves are choreographed before the matches and there is a sense of camaraderie among many of the wrestlers, the price exacted is physical pain. 

From the practice of 'gigging' or self-inflicting wounds to give spectators some bloodshed to more frightening practices of using a staple gun in truly self-injurious fashion, the wrestling world as presented in this film exacts a powerful toll on the body as well as the spirit of the wrestler, as exemplified by "The Ram's" ultimate dive into what remains of his destiny.

The fighting arts are cruel.  As a boxing fan, I have never watched professional wrestling.  I had imagined that wrestling, with its performance and choreographed elements, was more about pretend pain than real. 

A few years ago, I remember feeling that Million Dollar Baby portrayed a depressing exaggeration of many elements of boxing.  I am curious to hear from this community about whether this movie captures something real about the world of professional wrestling.

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