The Wrestler

Bomb Rating: 

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning: Mickey Rourke is ugly.  There, now you’ve read the concept that 90 percent of critics will base their entire review around.  If you are old enough to remember when Rourke was a Hollywood pretty boy with a bright future ahead of him, then you don’t need to be reminded why his face now looks like he shaves with a cheese grater. 

If you are part of the demographic that crowds American Legions and dingy high school gyms on Saturday afternoons to watch big dudes beat the shit out of bigger dudes in the squared circle, however, then your life probably has a lot in common with the sad sack wrestler played by Rourke in this creatively titled film.  Chances are you too drive a van with a muscular plastic action figure taped to the dash, find conversation at the local strip club to be intellectually stimulating, and probably also have a chemical dependency that prevents you from working at anything other than the hottest and noisiest of jobs. 

In fact, what are you even doing reading this review?  Shouldn’t you be shotgunning a Miller Light with the jailbait you picked up last night after you won the local pie-eating contest, or explaining to your buddies why the 80’s were so much better than the 90’s?  Didn’t it just blow your mind when Rourke said EXACTLY THE SAME THING while drinking in a bar at noon with the 40 year old single mom he picked up at the peelers?  It’s almost as if that old hippie you buy your acid from was right and there are indeed little cameras that follow you around wherever you go. 

Of course, there are advantages to being part of The Wrestler’s intended audience.  For one thing, you were most likely unaffected by the recent stock market crash, since your retirement plan consists primarily of a pocket full of lottery scratch cards.  You also probably don’t have to worry about the cost of health insurance, thanks to the fact that you’ve already sold most of your major organs and about half the plasma in your body – what’s left to get sick?  Finally, as with Rourke’s charmingly estranged daughter, chances are your family hates you too much to seek out child support, leaving you free and clear to spread your booze-soaked seed across the country. 

If any of the above strikes a chord then you need to run, not walk to a local screening of The Wrestler and revel in the hauntingly tedious examination of your day to day life.  It’s almost unbelievable that director Darren Aronofsky abandoned his tool chest of random edits and non-linear plot devices, but his decision to keep the camera steadily focused on Rourke’s bleach blonde himbo character is reminiscent of watching a piece of meat slowly rot in the sun over a period of days – dull, smelly and about as inspired as an art school film major’s final project.


To spread the word about this The Wrestler review on Twitter.

To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.

Like This The Wrestler Review? Vote it Up.


Rate This Movie:

Average: 4.1 (9 votes)

Other Cranky Content You Might Enjoy

  • This is a movie about shopping in the same way that ‘A Perfect Storm’ was a movie about people who love to fish.  Remember that movie about

  • Every once in a while Hollywood churns out a ‘comedy’ that centers around the fact that most single women above 30

  • There was once a time when terrible, low-budget sex comedies were relegated to the netherworld of late-night / early morning S

WTF happened to Mickey Rourke?

Rajah's picture

I must have missed it but was it ever explained? Was he in a car accident, a fire or a nuclear bomb test?

he followed bukowski's lead...

michael3b's picture

..and commited slow suicide via facial reconstruction..using fist, scalpal and booze.

Boxing happened to Mickey

Anonymous's picture

Boxing happened to Mickey Rourke's face. Broken nose, compressed cheekbone, other assorted cuts, scrapes, breaks, fractures, etc...

He had some personal troubles as well, to do with alcohol mostly. It's a damn shame is what it is.

Where is this movie showing?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The local googleplexes are full of stupid crap but I can't see this flick.

{;-) Dan in Miami


More about Mickey's face . . . .

Hairhead's picture

. . . a result of a whole buncha things, but one which has not been mentioned yet is abuse of steroids and human growth hormone -- that's what makes his brow jut out like a Neanderthal. (Plus, of course, several really bad plastic surgeries, boxing injuries, booze, meth, and falling asleep in ashtrays filled with lit cigarettes.)

Not reflected his face: wife-beating, fan-beating, and general psycho behavior.

I heard HGH was breakfast of the sasquatch

TMundo_too_lazy_to_sign_in's picture

Well that's how one guy put it. It does make your brow swell after long periods of use. Some stuff doesn't make sence. Why would a bodybuilder, who I assume is somewhat concerned with outward appearance, use a product that swells your brow and makes you look like bigfoot?

Maybe he WANTS to look like the Sasquatch

FearlessFreep's picture

 Chacun a son gout.

Ya know what really cheeses me off, Mr. Head?

Coaster's picture

For all of his ugliness, he's still better looking than I've ever been.

Sure, chicks dig a sense of humor, but what they really dig is a sense of humor that comes in a package that resembles Brad Pitt.


TMundo's picture

I suppose, Mr. Head, that head cheese might cheese me off.


He looks worse in that pic than he did playing Marv in Sin City

nickumoh's picture

There, I said it

...what...what were talking about again?

Mickey Rourke is nominated for a best actor Golden Globe

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The Golden Globe awards ceremony is Sunday, January 11 (8-11 PM EST.).  I won't watch it as usual.  It would really be something if Rourke won though.  A few months ago he was living in a $500 a month studio apartment in South Beach, Florida and almost broke.

Now I really want to see "The Wrestler".  I have worked behind the scenes at a few pro wrestling events and had a lot of fun doing so.

{;-) Dan in Miami



Get theater play dates for "The Wrestler" here

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From the offical website for "The Wrestler":

{;-) Dan in Miami


Mickey Rourke wins best actor in a drama Golden Globe

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture


Rourke won for a role as a former wrestling star who gets a last chance at glory in the ring, a theme that mirrors the actor’s life after he derailed his career with bad-boy behavior.

“It’s been a very long road back for me,” said Rourke, who poured out his thanks to “The Wrestler” director Darren Aronofsky. 

“I’ve said this before, in sports especially which I can relate to, really, truly great players come around every 30 years, and I really, truly believe Darren is one of those cats,” Rourke said. 

{;-) Dan in Miami 

PS:  "The Wrestler" also won a Globe for its theme song, written and sung by Bruce Springsteen 

PPS:  We all know that the Oscar awards are heavily dominated by dramas.  Wouldn't it be a kick in the head if Rourke went on to win the best actor Oscar?


An Oscar Best Picture Nomination is Worth $6,663,508

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

This article at basically says that when a picture gets a best picture nomination for an Oscar it will then get wider distribution in many more theaters for about 4 weeks. 

The article doesn't make any calculations of what a nomination for a best actor Oscar might do for a film.  Maybe it has no effect since "The Wrestler" is still only showing on 144 screens in the USA, even though Mickey Rourke has been nominated for best actor.,0 

{;-) Dan in Miami


you can tell its a good movie

Decaf's picture

when the review goes off on a tangent



Finally saw "The Wrestler"

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Watch The Wrestler and revel in the hauntingly tedious examination of your day to day life.

Mickey Rourke did give a good performance.  The movie itself was hard to watch.  I turned it off before the climactic ring fight.

Director Darren Aronofsky needs to cheer up a little.  He seems to be obsessed with drug use and misery.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Wrestling the devil within

Foo's picture

the 40 year old single mom he picked up at the peelers

What Canadian among us wrote this review? It's a good one, to be sure.

It's not unusual to pick up a peeler - although today it's a lot tougher than it was in the early '70s. And I'm uglier than Mickey.

Once upon a time, long ago and far, far away, three of us walked across the tarmac to the hotel bar to enjoy a cold one at lunch and admire the fine complexions on the prancing peeler parade strutting their stuff. By mid-afternoon we had out-drunk mostly everyone in the place and subsequently ended up alone with one of the girls who took a fancy to us. There is some advantage to not have to be back at work on a regular basis.

Before long, we shepherded her out of the bar and down the tarmac to the flying club for a round or two at the club's bar. She had a bit of trouble keeping up the pace on the tarmac in her high heels, but we didn't care. We had time. I'm sure we must have discussed the finer points of aircraft performance before she had to get back for her evening performances.

Granted, she wasn't as good-looking as Marisa, but she had all the right moves. Blind as a bat without her glasses though, which is probably why she enjoyed our company so much.

The fun ended when she dropped her naked beasts on the table to give us a close-up while the waiter at the flying club was walking towards us.

Since happily-married Ken wouldn't let us shuttle her over to his place, we walked her back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the hapless bastards had the hangar doors open, and we had witnesses to the occasion. Ed, our chief pilot, never let us forget that one.

I thought a peeler...

Rajah's picture

was a leper

I thought it was a London cop

FearlessFreep's picture

Was her first name Emma?


Is it my imagination

RidingFool's picture

or are Mickey Rourke, Shannon Tweed, Amy Fisher, Mary-Louise Parker and Meg Ryan all starting to resemble one another?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.