Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler is a 2008 American sports film with psychological elements. Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood are the movie’s stars. Despite his deteriorating health and dwindling popularity, Rourke portrays an older professional wrestler who still competes in an effort to maintain the popularity of his 1980s heyday. In addition, he makes an effort to reconcile with his adopted daughter and find love with a stripper.
The movie’s production got underway in January 2008, and Fox Searchlight Pictures got the rights to release it here. It had a soft launch on December 17, 2008, and on January 23, 2009, it went on general distribution. It was made available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 21, 2009, in the United States and on January 16, 2009, in the United Kingdom.
The Wrestler: Plot
The 1980s saw the professional wrestler Robin Ramzinski achieve success under the ring name Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Randy, who is beyond his prime, works a part-time job at a supermarket for Wayne, a nasty boss who makes fun of Randy’s wrestling history while also living in a trailer park and wrestling on the weekends for independent organizations in New Jersey.
As a regular at a strip club, Randy makes friends with Cassidy, a stripper who is also beyond her prime. After triumphing in a small bout, Randy consents to a proposed 20th-anniversary rematch with his most famous foe, “The Ayatollah,” in the hopes that it will catapult him back to fame.
Randy ups the ante on his workouts, which now involve steroid injections. Randy had a heart attack backstage after competing in a tough match of wrestling and needs to have coronary artery bypass surgery. Even worse, the physician advises Randy to stop wrestling since his heart can no longer withstand the strain that it causes. Randy reluctantly makes the decision to retire and starts working a full-time job at the deli counter in the grocery store.
Randy sees his adopted daughter Stephanie, whom he had neglected when she was a youngster, at Cassidy’s recommendation, but she rejects him. Cassidy discloses that she has a son while assisting Randy in purchasing a present for Stephanie. Randy visits Cassidy’s strip club to express his gratitude, but she rejects him there as well, setting off an argument. Randy, who is upset, attends a wrestling match and finds comfort in his fellow wrestlers.
The persistent customer enrages Randy, who then slices his own hand on the slicer and then leaves the business. While rampaging through the store, Randy hurls insults at Wayne and the customers. With nothing left to lose and encouraged by the fan’s appreciation of him, Randy makes the decision to return to professional wrestling and schedule changes the rematch with The Ayatollah. Randy tells her to reject her counsel, saying that he belongs in the ring with his supporters and other wrestlers who respect and adore him.
Randy experiences chest discomfort and loses his balance while he wrestles. However, Randy declines and ascends to the top rope for his trademark finishing technique, a diving headbutt known as the “Ram Jam.”
The Wrestler Ending Explained
A doctor has warned the elderly professional wrestler Randy (Mickey Rourke) that continuing this exercise may kill him because of his bad heart condition. Randy disregards the cautions. He returns to the ring because it is the one place that has ever given him a feeling of community, companionship, and belonging after he has harmed or ruined relationships with his fiancée and his estranged daughter.
A parallel for Randy’s unavoidable and impending death might be drawn from the final scene of the film, which features him leaping from the ropes and cutting to the end credits as his body departs the screen. In actuality, in a 2009 discussion with a movie blogger, director Darren Aronofsky concurred with his subject’s assertion that Randy did pass away in this battle, adding his own remark: “If not now, when?”
The unclear ending was most definitely not created by The Wrestler. With one, The Graduate destroyed us. We were once again scared by John Carpenter’s The Thing. It was literally made into a game by Inception. But The Wrestler’s framing of its conclusion as a victory from whatever aspect always strikes me as a poorly executed piledriver.
Even if the lesson acquired is a depressing, lonely one, Randy demonstrated something to himself simply by jumping, therefore the landing is irrelevant. That is the reason the final shot is so potent. Randy is undoubtedly leaping out of our lives, while we can never be assured that he is doing the same on his own.
And that’s lovely. There should be more movie endings like this. Not assemble a team, not establish a universe, and not pursue a sequel. Just let everything go, and trust that the audience will be more interested in the leap from the top rope than where you could land.
Reaction and Review
At the 65th Venice International Film Festival, where it had its world debut, the movie won the Golden Lion Award and got accolades from all critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 98% of critics gave the movie good reviews, and film critic Roger Ebert ranked it as one of the year’s greatest movies. Mickey Rourke’s career was reinvigorated by the success of the movie, and he later won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. Tomei was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well.
Even the roughest and most skeptical spectators will find their eyes getting teary by the time Rourke delivers his great proclamation of faith to his supporters because of how heartbreaking his performance’s shattered dignity is.
In this excellent movie, Mickey Rourke gives the rebound performance he’s been working toward for the past few years. The genuine, occasionally interesting drama directed by Darren Aronofsky appears to have been crafted around Rourke’s demeanor and physique.
On that battered visage of his, everything is there. This might very well be his best performance to date. He has the backing of two pretty women. Marisa Tomei is incredibly talented, charming, and vulnerable. Evan Rachel Wood is terrible and fragile.
The thorough and acutely observed behind-the-scenes look upon how WWE-style wrestling is performed. Even though the film has some predictable sections, Rourke, Tomei, and Aronofsky make this fascinating drama interesting, heartbreaking, and well worth it.