My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Southpaw is a movie that is both extremely tragic and heartbreaking, but like its main character still gives us a bit of hope. While it presents us with a story that we’ve more or less seen before, the film shows us these familiar elements in a way that is real. This movie is truthful in a way that many Hollywood films are not, as it steers away from certain aspects of the story that audiences would expect it to focus on, while taking a closer look at scenes that would normally be glossed over.
One of the main issues I had with Southpaw was the fact that one of the most powerful scenes in the film, which serves as the catalyst for the story, is ruined in the trailer. To be completely honest though, it was because of that trailer that I wanted to go see the film in the first place. So while I don’t necessarily disagree with the advertising choices, I also feel that the movie would have pushed me over an emotional boundary had I not known about this plot point ahead of time.
For this reason, I will be very quick with my plot summary. If you have not seen the trailer for Southpaw yet, I recommend that you avoid it and see the movie without spoiling any aspect of the story beforehand. Southpaw is the story of famous boxer, Billy Hope (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who must deal with the aftermath of a shocking tragedy in order to keep his life, career, and family together. As his name suggests, Billy’s tenacity is a glimmer of hope in an unfair world, especially for his daughter Leila (played by Oona Laurence).
Now, with all that being said above about the tragedy losing a bit of its emotional impact due to the reveal in the trailer, this is definitely not a happy movie. There is absolutely hope involved, but the overwhelming sadness that fills nearly 80% of Southpawcan sometimes be so intense that the uplifting scenes become less powerful. While this isn’t surprising due to the subject matter of the movie, I still wouldn’t want to watch the film again for quite a while despite how great it was.
While the story was interesting, emotion, and (at times) unpredictable, it was the characters and actors that really made the film what it is. Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker especially did a phenomenal job to the point that I think they could be looking at possible Oscar nominations at the beginning of next year. Oona Laurence and Rachel McAdams are absolutely incredible as well, and help make their characters so real and relatable.
Overall, I recommend seeing Southpaw before it leaves theatres, but keep in mind that it is a dark film that will not have you leaving with a big smile on your face. If you are a fan of boxing movies, redemption movies, or Jake Gyllenhaal, then you will certainly enjoy Southpaw.