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REVIEW: Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal

REVIEW: Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal 
by Julie Perez

Full disclosure; I walked into this movie assuming that I would enjoy it. I knew that Kurt Sutter had written the screenplay, so I knew that I was in for an emotional ride. Well, let me just tell you that I was not prepared for this movie-going experience.

I went into this movie assuming a great story line and hoping that the acting, directing and music fit the vision that Kurt Sutter had. After watching and processing the movie, I think it’s safe to say that the movie exceeded any expectations that anyone could have had. Where do I even begin?

Southpaw is the story of Billy Hope, a light heavyweight champion who has it all. He has the money, the family, the supportive group of friends and the manager that seems to have his best interest in mind. Then, suddenly a family tragedy strikes and he loses it all; the family, the friends, the belongings are all gone. The story follows Billy Hope on his way back to redemption. I’ve read a couple of reviews that called Southpaw a “clichéd boxing movie” and to that I say; are clichés really that bad? I’m not particularly a fan of boxing movies; I really have no idea what the outline of a typical boxing movie looks like. With that being said, I do believe that if clichés work and you execute the idea with a fresh pair of eyes then it might turn out great.

Southpaw is not just a boxing movie; it’s a movie about life, a movie about hitting rock bottom and getting back up no matter how many times you get pushed back to the ground. The story will resonate with you, no matter what your situation is. We have all felt defeated at one point or another and this movie, Jake Gyllenhaal especially, does a great job at portraying defeat and grief.

Jake Gyllenhaal; wow! Jake Gyllenhaal has never been on my radar, not that I disliked him, I just never made it a point to watch any of his movies. Well, that completely changed after I walked out of Southpaw, Mr. Gyllenhaal has gained a new fan. I say fan, but really, I mean stalker. I mean, what? Okay! Fine! I’m kind of obsessed now. Jake Gyllenhaal completely disappeared in this role, not only were his physical attributes enough to take notice, but his acting was out of this world. His acting reaches trough the screen and forces you to take notice. The casting in general was perfection; from Rachel McAdams to Forest Whitaker to (surprisingly) 50 Cent and then to Oona Laurence, who played Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams’ daughter. You know when a child is in a movie and you kind of get nervous while watching it. You’re afraid that the child may overact or that whatever they are trying to portray won’t seem believable. Well, that was not the case with Oona. She was wonderful and they couldn’t have picked someone more perfect for the role.

The movie was amazing from beginning to end. In terms of the music, Eminem produced the Soundtrack, plus the score of the movie was by the late James Horner. The directing was impeccable, Antoine Fuqua put his everything into this movie and every scene had his heart in it. The boxing scenes in particular were phenomenal, I found myself holding my breath during every boxing scene. There are truly not enough good things that I could say about this movie. It had heart, passion, strength, and emotion. No scene was too rushed and no scene felt out of place. I HIGHLY recommend you go and watch this movie as soon as you can. I promise you will leave the theatre feeling emotionally drained (in a good way) and ridiculously motivated.
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