Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) is a world champion boxer at the top of his game. Well, that is not entirely true but there are those in his entourage who would have Billy believe he is all but invincible, most notably his greedy Manager Jordan (50 Cent). However, Billy’s wife Maureen (McAdams) worries only for her husband and not the cash and noting that he is taking more hits than he used to, she urges him to carefully consider his boxing future.
Billy and Maureen are childhood sweethearts who were both orphaned and are now the doting parents of the adorably feisty Leila (Laurence). The couple keep many childhood friends as part of their inner circle but even they have limited sway with Billy who, as with many others who have come from nothing, is driven to keep himself, family and friends off the streets.
After a tragic accident, Billy is left to cope with life as a single parent and as he plunges into emotional and financial despair, Leila is taken from him until he can prove himself a good parent.
The physical transformation Gyllenhaal has gone through is astounding. He looks every inch his character. A hardened boxer, ripped and bulked up. His physical presence in the boxing ring is scary and intimidating which belies the gentle, loving man we see outside of the ring. It is Billy’s gentle nature that sees him lose everything once the strong, guiding wisdom of his wife is no longer present.
Southpaw is a gritty drama with a true heart. The boxing scenes are brutal and bloody enough that I had to turn away at times but not bad enough that they overwhelmed. The father/daughter relationship was a central theme and the endearing young Laurence made the movie that much more enjoyable. Her frustrations and anger towards her father were believable and heartbreaking.
This is your standard sports drama movie that given it’s cast, should have been just a little bit better. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much and would recommend anyone to see it but it just never quite separates itself from the pack.
3 out of 5 stars
Love Flick xx
Director : Antoine Fuqua
Starring : Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Skylan Brookes, Miguel Gomez
Running Time : 124 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now