Southpaw

Not rated yet!
Director
Antoine Fuqua
Runtime
2 h 03 min
Release Date
15 June 2015
Genres
Action, Drama
Overview
Billy "The Great" Hope, the reigning junior middleweight boxing champion, has an impressive career, a loving wife and daughter, and a lavish lifestyle. However, when tragedy strikes, Billy hits rock bottom, losing his family, his house and his manager. He soon finds an unlikely savior in Tick Willis, a former fighter who trains the city's toughest amateur boxers. With his future on the line, Hope fights to reclaim the trust of those he loves the most.
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Crosswalk1
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Southpaw Displays Neither Patience nor Skill of a Winner
    Movies DVD Release Date: October 27, 2015Theatrical Release Date: July 24, 2015Rating: R (for strong language throughout, and some violence)Genre: Sports DramaRun Time: 123 minDirector: Antoine FuquaCast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Naomie Harris, Miguel Gomez Southpaw, a sports movie about the fall and rise of a world championship boxer, doesn't display the patience or skill of a winner. Instead of building toward a knockout with a clear strategy or discipline, its narrative is built upon so many wild and erratic swings that it lands far more eye rolls than punches. The talent and potential is there, but it enters the cinematic ring in far too raw a state to win many rounds at the box office or the year-end awards circuit. The film's biggest boast is Jake Gyllenhaal's physical transformation. Having come off the indie psychological thriller Nightcrawler, for which he lost weight to an emaciated extreme, Gyllenhaal bulked up to the level of a light heavyweight fighter. HIs degree of commitment as an actor is impressive but, as storytellers, director Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer) and writer Kurt Sutter lack the same dedication. Gyllenhaal gave them an authentic physique, and all they gave him in return was a stack of tired clichés. Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope (even the name is a rudimentary metaphor), a champ who, at 43-0, is on top of the boxing world. He's also a family man with a perfectly-precious little girl, but is also burdened with the typical discontents. One is a cocky upstart contender who calls Billy out during Hope's own victorious press conference, challenging his manhood (the movie's childish machismo quickly wears thin). There's also Billy's loving, loyal, smart, and sexy wife (Rachel McAdams, Aloha) who wants him to walk away from it all before his brain gets punched into concussion-ravaged mush. Before Billy's able to seriously consider how to address and balance these competing interests, the movie piles on an insane triple-stack of tragedies in quick succession – from a violent murder to sudden bankruptcy to a child custody dispute. Like a boxer who's taken too many clean hits upside the head, Southpaw's plot becomes literally punch-drunk, flailing about in dizzy desperation.SEE ALSO: The Equalizer: Not Enough Good to Equalize the Brutality, Language googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); The repercussions of the first two events are dropped from the plot as quickly as those blindsides were introduced, entirely lacking any realistic follow-through for events so traumatic (not to mention legally complicated). These are lazy plot devices – executed in reckless fashion – that exist solely to bring Hope from his palatial mansion to a 300-square-foot apartment in short order. The film doesn't have the depth or resolve to deal with the implications of these tragedies, going from simplistic to preposterous with incredible, illogical speed. The result is a forced, contrived drama – correction: an absurd, overwrought melodrama – in which actions and consequences bear no semblance to the real world. As Southpaw's second half focuses on Hope's humbly-fought resurrection, the story settles into a more steady and clear-headed tempo; unfortunately, the trite formula remains. Enter the local Hell's Kitchen boxing gym guru Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker, Taken 3) who has, as one would guess, retired from training professionals. But once Hope shows he's willing to commit to Willis's tough love discipline, Willis inevitably caves (after a few bouts of emotional angst) and takes Hope under his wing. This predictable arc ends up being the film's lone saving grace, as these intimate training scenes are the only moments that conjure some honestly expressed emotions (despite a ham-fistedly symbolism involving the techniques and drills used and the motivational street-wise insights Willis imparts). Whitaker carries these scenes with his Oscar-winning chops, elevating the rote material with a deep emotional range and integrity. Gyllenhaal rises to these occasions too, but when the other plot threads take him away from Whitaker he's not nearly as adept at lifting the movie above its clunky, embarrassing sensationalism. Meanwhile Fuqua, who's never had a gift for subtlety, sets a heightened tone so absurd that it actively works against Gyllenhaal's earnest efforts. The resulting performance is not enough to grant Gyllenhaal the Oscar nomination that braggart producer Harvey Weinstein has audaciously guaranteed.SEE ALSO: Mad Max: Fury Road Not Just Brilliant Action, but Truly Serious Filmmaking At two hours, this slick-but-artless genre picture is too predictable to go on for as long as it does, and too ridiculous to buy into. When it falls back on obnoxious moments – such as when one character screams at another, "You should've been the one that was killed!" – you know the film's attempts at gritty realism aren't backed with any true conviction. As with any excessive form of testosterone-fueled bravado and swagger, Southpaw is too artificial, too high-strung, and too insecure as it tries way too hard to overcompensate for its obvious inadequacies. CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers): googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Drugs/Alcohol: Some casual drinking of alcohol. References to drugs. Language/Profanity: Strong language throughout. F-words are used regularly, along with most other profanities. A few instances of the Lord's name being taken in vain, as well as occasional terms that are sexually crude. Sexual Content/Nudity: Some passionate sexualized kissing between a man and wife while on their bed, as she begins to undress. A naked body profile of a man, but not full frontal as genitals are blocked by a leg. Scantily-clad women appear in the ring at boxing matches, as part of the overall presentation of the event. Violence/Other: A lot of boxing violence, from high-impact brutality, to bruises and bloody cuts, swelling, and vomiting of blood. Some gun violence, but not graphically depicted, along with non-boxing fighting violence. A violent car crash. Publication date: July 23, 2015 SEE ALSO: True Football Fans Will Want to Slide Draft Day Down Their Boards ]]>
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    (Review Source)

Kyle Smith1
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Southpaw’ is a stale, cliche-filled fight
    The finest 1947 boxing picture of 2015 is here: “Southpaw,” a film that’s gruntingly insistent on its clichés. It brings back every stale genre convention you can think of, then hopes you won’t recognize predictability pumped up with swearing and steroids and an Eminem song during the training montage. Mainly, the movie is a showcase...
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    (Review Source)

Plugged In2
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Southpaw
    SportsDrama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewBilly Hope doesn't fight like a regular boxer. The reigning light heavyweight champion of the world doesn't bother with defense. Instead, at a certain point in every one of his 43 victories, an opponent's blow will land on his predictably bloodied and battered face … awakening some kind of monster inside. No matter how bad it looks, no matter how close it seems Billy Hope is to being quite literally bludgeoned to death, that Godzilla-like side of his personality always kicks in eventually, even if it's in the 12th round. Or as one announcer puts it after another successful—and brutal—title take-down, "Just when you think there's no hope left, here comes Billy." For most of his life, Billy Hope's anger has been his ally. Rage has led to his reign. It's built a life of luxury for him and his wife, Maureen, (both of whom grew up as orphans in the mean streets of Manhattan's once-infamous Hell's Kitchen neighborhood), along with their beloved 10-year-old daughter, Leila. But after his latest victory, Billy Hope's anger uncorks at exactly the wrong time, in exactly the wrong way with exactly the worst consequences. After speaking at a charity event, Billy's confronted by a hungry young contender, Miguel Escobar, who's convinced he can beat the champ in the ring. Billy ignores the man's nasty taunts at first, encouraged by Mo (as Maureen is called) to let it go. But when Escobar's trolling jeers vulgarly drag Billy's wife into the mud, too, it's too much: The champion erupts. The ensuing bedlam between the two boxers' entourages concludes with a lone, errant gunshot that changes everything for Billy Hope, who soon loses nearly everything he's fought so hard for. His sole shot at redemption depends on unlearning his unhealthy dependence on anger—both in the ring and out. And doing so means learning to listen to an aging boxing coach from the inner city who's learned a thing or two about redemption himself.Positive ElementsMo had been wisely asking Billy to step back a bit from fighting to focus more on Leila. Equally wise, she's steadfastly refused to let Leila attend her daddy's fights or even watch them on TV. Mo tells Billy she and Leila are the only people who really care about him and who will be with him after his career is over, and she's (rightly) leery of his manager, Jordan Mains, who is manipulating him to keep committing to more fights. After the shooting, Billy Hope is forced to answer one of life's most serious questions: What do we do when we lose everything? Your family. Your career. Your passion for life itself. An older former boxer named Titus "Tick" Wills helps Billy by giving him a job and by laying down the law regarding Billy's behavior: He has to be punctual, can't swear, can't use drugs or alcohol and has to be willing to invest in the lives of the inner city youth Tick's determined to help in his old gym. It's a humbling process for the boxing great. But slowly Billy submits to this new way of life. And with Tick's help, he learns new boxing skills and begins to get a grip on his anger (as well as his substance abuse problem). It's a journey that requires discipline, responsibility, commitment, consistency and humility. Also, while the film may not intentionally be a critique of boxing's high physical cost, it should be noted that it does take the time to show us the massive toll the sport takes on a fighter's body. After one bout, Billy can barely move for days, walking and limping along slowly.Spiritual ContentA sign in the background of Tick's gym reads, "In God We Trust." He's shown carrying a Bible. In a moment of anguish after one of his young charges is murdered, he laments, "God must have some kind of plan to teach me some kind of lesson. I just can't figure out what it is." Tick tells Billy during a fight, "God is watching you." Billy offers up a prayer of sorts, either to God or to someone who has died. A funeral is presided over by a priest.Sexual ContentBikini-clad women strut across the ring with round-number signs. Billy's shown sitting naked in a shower. (We see all of his unclothed torso from the side.) Mo wears outfits that reveal cleavage. We see her in a bra, thong and an unbuttoned robe as she's getting dressed. After a match, she flirts suggestively with her husband (sucking on his finger), and there's talk of them going "two rounds." She climbs on top of him (lifting her dress to reveal her underwear). They embrace and kiss.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentThe boxing is intense and bloody. As Billy trades blows with his opponents, scenes are filled with jarring body shots and punches to the head. Billy, especially, has a propensity for getting wounded above his left eye, his forehead bleeding profusely and repeatedly. After the fights, we see him repeatedly spit out massive amounts of blood; his bruises worsen and his bloodshot left eye practically swells shut. There are piles of blood-drenched towels. When Miguel insults and baits Billy after the charity event, Billy goes after him, and a gloves-free melee erupts. The gunshot kills someone, producing panic, anguish and lots of blood. An inebriated Billy perhaps tries to commit suicide by ramming his car into a tree on his estate. (His daughter discovers him lying in the entryway to their house, bleeding.) He head-butts a boxing referee, badly injuring the man's nose and face. Losing custody of Leila, Billy loses control and has to be physically restrained by multiple police officers. He angrily confronts a woman, pointing a loaded gun at her in an attempt to ascertain Miguel's whereabouts. (He seems close to shooting her until her children run up and hug her, which seems to bring him back to a more restrained reality.) He destroys his trophy room in yet another rage. We hear that an adolescent (from Tick's gym) was murdered by his father when the young man tried to protect his mother from his dad's assault of her. Leila slaps her father's face four times as she screams, "I hate you!"Crude or Profane LanguageMore than 75 f-words (including nearly a dozen paired with "mother"). Close to 40 s-words. Two uses of "p---y" and one of "n-gga." "B--ch" is uttered nearly 10 times, "a--" five or six times. God's name is paired with "d--n."Drug and Alcohol ContentA banquet includes wine. It's increasingly clear Billy is trying to cope via alcohol and, it's suggested (but not shown), with drugs, too. Tick tells him he has to get clean if he's going to work (and eventually train) at his gym. But it turns out Tick's got a drinking problem of his own that he's apparently struggling to kick; both men are shown drinking in a bar. But Tick isn't interested in sharing a drink with Billy, telling him, "Drinking is a solitary sport."Other Negative ElementsWe see Billy vomit. Jordan Mains betrays and abandons Billy, just as Mo predicted. It's said that Mains paid off at least one fighter to throw a bout in Billy's favor.ConclusionWhat is it about boxing movies? If there's a genre better suited to narratives that naturally sift themes such as pride and humiliation, loss and redemption, I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps that's because most boxing movies—take your pick from Rocky to Raging Bull, The Fighter to The Boxer, Cinderella Man to The Champ—distill their pugilist protagonist's struggles into two of the most primal conflicts a man can face: a physical war with a savage opponent determined to beat him unconscious and a parallel inner war with haunting failures equally determined to beat him hopeless. With so much conflict going on, I suppose it's no surprise that boxing movies often trade in gritty, bruising realism. And so it is with Southpaw, a poignant, redemptive story that's also wincingly bathed in brutality and vulgarity. This is the kind of story that pulls you into watching but is so intense in some moments (both in terms of its pull-no-punches boxing scenes and Billy Hope's similarly painful interactions with his emotionally wounded daughter) that you want (need) to look away. Jab after jab of harsh profanity and bloody boxing imagery mean this movie ultimately takes the same kind of beating onscreen that Billy Hope does in the ring.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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    (Review Source)

Quintus Curtius1
Fortress of the Mind



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Sunday Film Roundup (6/11/2017)
    Some very good results this week. Southpaw (2015) Director:  Antoine Fuqua You can’t really fault boxing movies for repeating formulas.  There are not a lot of ways to spin the genre; but the same points can be made with good presentation of the material.  This is the case with Southpaw, an excellent boxing film that … Continue reading Sunday Film Roundup (6/11/2017)
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    (Review Source)

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