- Actors Paul Giamatti, Renee Zellweger, Russell Crowe
- Running Time 144 mins
- Release Date Monday 30th November -0001
With Million Dollar Baby doing such good business, at the box office and on Oscar night, it was inevitable that another tear-jerking boxing movie would follow hot on its heels. The good news is that Cinderella Man isn't a rip-off or cheap imitation; the based-on-a-true tale of how Jimmy Braddock (Crowe) overcame age, injury and social prejudice to rise from the soup-lines of Depression-era America and compete at the highest level is one of the most powerful stories ever to emerge from the sordid world of professional boxing. "I know what I'm fighting for this time," Braddock tells a host of assembled journalists before the biggest fight of his career: "Milk." Written by Cliff Hollingsworth and directed by Ron Howard (who worked with Crowe on A Beautiful Mind), Cinderella Man is similar in tone to Million Dollar Baby in that it is less concerned with events in the ring than it is in Braddock's personal relationships, with his wife Mae (Zellweger) and kids first and foremost, but also with his long-suffering manager Joe (Giamatti) and - crucially - the equally long-suffering American public, who take Braddock to their hearts as the people's champion at a time when the Average Joe didn't have an awful lot to hope for. The fight scenes are the kind of relentless slug-fests you only ever see in Hollywood movies, and Howard tugs too relentlessly at the heartstrings, turning the pure gold of the simple drama into overblown melodrama as the finale draws near, but those are minor caveats in the context of the fine performances, beautiful cinematography (Salvatore Totino's use of muted browns, blues and greys speaks volumes about the reality of the Great Depression), and a bona fide stranger-than-fiction rags-to-riches fairytale.