1. In the ’80s, Mickey Rourke was both a successful leading man and a certifiable sex symbol. But his personal life overshadowed his career and by the ’90s Rourke had become a has-been and a punchline. That is, until now. In Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Rourke portrays washed up professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, who is given one last chance at life and love. Rourke is mesmerizing; he delivers a fun, passionate and poignant performance that sticks with you. This is the comeback of the year.
2. A film about professional wrestling seems like it would be the perfect plot for a Will Ferrell movie. Yet The Wrestler is a powerful, heartbreaking and beautifully crafted drama that takes the audience into a world unlike any other. It is an intense and graphic look at a culture where everyone is clinging to failed dreams.
3. Marisa Tomei plays Pam, a stripper who has captured Randy’s heart. Tomei’s performance is the glue that holds The Wrestler together, providing a sense of wisdom when Randy is completely lost.
5. Frankly, The Wrestler is the year’s best film. It might be less fantastical than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, not as hyped as Slumdog Millionaire, not based on actual events like Frost/Nixon or The Reader and lacking the biopic angle like Milk, but The Wrestler has more passion than any of these films. It is a film not to be missed.