The Wrestler is not really a sports movie, despite the pummel-heavy wrestling matches. It's not really a romance, though there's a kind of love story. It's not a tale of redemption or glorious comeback, though the main character finishes in his own kind of victorious way. It is, however, a very real movie about failure, fear, and confronting the reality of your future.
Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was a professional wrestler who reached his peak in the mid-80s, selling out Madison Square Garden for an epic match against "The Ayatollah." Twenty years later, he's still wrestlingbut now, in VFW auditoriums and high school gymnasiums, for crowds of maybe a hundred. He and his fellow wrestlers form a kind of cordial brotherhood in which he is the venerated elder, and fans who remember his glory days still recognize him from posters and flock to get his autograph.
But Randy is a normal working-class guy struggling to pay rent in his New Jersey, trailer park. He has a kind heart, a messy life, an incessant need for painkillers, an estranged daughter, a job stocking shelves at a local grocery store and a soft spot for an aging stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) at the club downtown. One night, after a match, Randy collapses and wakes up in a hospital bed after a mild heart attack and bypass surgery. His doctor tells him that wrestling probably isn't the best thing for his heart, and Randy, left contemplating his future, decides that it's time to contact his twenty-something daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), who hates him for abandoning the family. Those reconciliation efforts initially go poorly, then begin to show some promise before Randy makes a critical choice that will determine the future of the relationship. ...1