The Wrestler

Seamy but powerful character portrait of an aging professional wrestler (a superb Mickey Rourke) whose marginal career is threatened by a heart attack, as he initiates a tentative romance with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) and makes fumbling efforts to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood). Director Darren Aronofsky's study of loneliness, set in a landscape of trailer parks and strip malls, is unsparing in its portrayal of the titular sport, the sadistic impulses of its fans, and the demeaning sexuality of the strip club where the protagonist unwinds, but the drama's artistic intent and achievement are clear, as are the fundamentally decent aspirations of the troubled man at its core.

Watch out for: Strong sexual content, including graphic nonmarital sexual activity, some nudity, brutal wrestling scenes, drug abuse, pervasive rough and much crude language, and some uses of profanity.

Rated: USCCB: L; MPAA: R

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2008