Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is "the fighter" of the title, but he's really not much of a fighter at all—he's a doormat, consumed by the self-serving onslaught of his crackhead brother Dicky (Christian Bale), seven hissing harpy sisters, and a domineering, guilt-ladling, smoke-stained mother (the nine of them together are like the fucking Hydra of northern Massachusetts). David O. Russell's feel-good boxing drama pulls a few too many punches—it slides gushily into a predictable ending—but the central performances (especially Bale and Melissa Leo as poisonous love personified) are magnificent. This is great fucking entertainment. (See Movie Times: thestranger.com/film)