MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: -1

Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Drama. Written by Anthony Tambakis. Directed by Gavin OíConnor.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Though the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) is the backdrop, this emotionally intense drama focuses on the lives of a recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) and his two estranged sons (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton). Embittered by their fatherís past drunken abusiveness, and having been separated as children, the two young men find it difficult to reunite in a family way when their father attempts to reconcile. They are a wounded, alienated family brought together by financial necessity, only to discover their true need Ė to find healing through forgiveness.

PREVIEW REVIEW: What are you willing to fight for? This is the poignant question left us by co-writer Anthony Tambakis (his first filmed screenplay) and writer/director Gavin OíConnor (Miracle). In this stark, earthy portrait of an injured family brought together through their one- time connection, mixed martial arts, the men are revealed as world-weary and nearly crushed by lifeís turmoil. But each still has something left to fight for: the father, his sons; the eldest son, his home; the other, his soul. This is a film instance where sound and fury signify everything.

While melancholic in tone, its perception, its occasional humor, its three-dimensional portraits keep the audience engrossed. Each desperate for a resolve, these arenít characters we just casually observe, but rather quickly come to care for and relate to. And though the bouts in the ring are as primal and kinetic as any Iíve ever seen on screen, the filmís ultimate energy exudes from the castís verbal and gestural tugs-of-war. The characters, like the sport portrayed, serve as metaphor. Their tale is a parable, a life lesson about the ultimate folly of an unforgiving heart.

Though our life situations may differ, itís the storyís emblematic desperation, the charactersí need for loveís healing power, that viewers relate to. Even those of us spared the family unrest the filmís protagonists have had to survive find ourselves mindful of hidden hurts and overt fears that life never seems to run short of. And we realize while sitting in a dark theater, staring at the shadows of light before us, that people canít just lie down for the count, but rather must continue this enigmatic battle called life. For me, Warrior is a spiritual reminder that I have the Trainer and Coach in my corner.

Gritty, poignant and relevant, Warrior may well be the best movie of the year.

WARNING: As you know from my past grievances concerning the misuse of Godís name in movies, I can point to many a production that handled similar subject matter without the cursing. Some may roll their eyes at my objection to the misuse of Godís name in any film. While others will no doubt object to my pointing out the filmís qualities despite this one objection. If youíve drawn the line, declaring you wonít attend any movie if it contains profanity, well then, youíve been informed.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around 20 obscenities, and five or six minor expletives.

Profanity: Three or four profanities

Violence: Several mixed martial arts bouts, but not excessively or gruesomely portrayed. A little blood.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The father is a recovering alcoholic; drinking is portrayed as destructive.

Other: None

Running Time: 140 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers.

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