Cinderella Man is easily one of Ron Howard’s best films (up there with Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind), and perhaps one of the best examples of classic Hollywood filmmaking to be released so far in 2005. It’s smart, crisp, and easy on the eyes. Just about everything in it feels right, especially Russell Crowe’s performance as real-life boxer James J. Braddock.
Thanks to help from the supporting cast (maybe Paul Giamatti will have better Oscar luck outside of leading roles), the backdrop of Depression-era New York comes to life. Leave it to Howard, as a director, to take a true story and make it feel wholly unpredictable. Granted, this story isn’t as pop and recognizable as the only astronauts ever lost in space, but it would be easy to spoil the story with a little research. I urge people who don’t know the history to stay away from learning more before watching the film.
But, for those who have already seen Cinderella Man, I found some interesting online insight that will shed some more light on the bigger picture surrounding the people of the film. For starters, here’s a glimpse at more detail of Braddock’s life as a whole, from the official James J. Braddock Web site.
After that, check out this article from The Arizona Republic, which details Braddock’s role as a figure of the times. But, perhaps most interesting, is the article’s due to Cinderella Man villain, Max Baer. Speaking of which, here’s some gossip about the off-screen relationship of Russell Crowe, and the actor playing Baer, Craig Bierko.