Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - October 30, 2015

by Elijah Scott

We’ve seen it time after time– Rocky, Ali, Raging Bull. If you’ve seen one boxing movie, you’ve seen them all. The plot line is always the same; Underdog who shouldn’t win overcomes odds to ascend to the top, and become Champion. Well, not this time.

Southpaw is not your typical rise-to-the-top boxing movie. The story follows Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), a champion boxer who has it all. Hope is accustomed to taking a beating in the ring, but foreign to the blows of life. Hope’s self-destructive tendencies lead to a domino effect of life changing events, which propel him into a downward spiral.

Writer, Kurt Sutter, gives us a screenplay that is eerily dark, heart wrenching, and incredibly inspiring. The film pulls your heart straight from your chest and chews on it for 124 minutes. Jake Gyllenhaal is flat out phenomenal in this film. His undoubted dedication to this role brings you to root for Hope throughout the film, in vastly different ways, and for vastly different reasons. We’ve seen this time-after-time from Gyllenhaal, who proves, once again, he is one of the most versatile actors in film. Director, Antoine Fuqua, manages to make a film that brings macho men to near tears. I found myself fighting not to weep multiple times throughout Southpaw, while each time becoming more invested in the outcome of the film. In addition to Gyllenhaal’s remarkable performance, Southpaw gives us solid performances out of Rachel McAdams, Forrest Whitaker, and even Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. These supporting rolls, combined, shape our view on Hope and his story throughout the film.

Although Southpaw has an element of predictability, I found myself enamored with the excellent writing and tremendous acting– despite knowing the likely outcome of the plot. I genuinely enjoyed every scene this film had to offer; there was never a moment where I wanted to walk away to grab a beer or twiddle my thumbs on my phone. Overall, this film was splendid, and I would love to watch it again. Of course, once I recover from the emotional whiplash, that is. If Southpaw teaches us one thing, it’s to never give up hope, or give up on Billy Hope.

Official Trailer:

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