‘Southpaw’ puts up fight at box office

by: NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

One man is determined to overcome the odds when his life takes an unexpected downfall.

“Southpaw” is a sports drama focused around the life of Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), a professional boxer, whose life takes a turn for the worse.

The movie opens with Billy defending his World Light Heavyweight title. His wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is seen cheering him on and greets him after he wins. Later that night, Maureen tries to convince Billy that he should retire while he’s in his prime, because his injuries are getting worse. While Billy is cleaning his eye injury, he argues with Maureen, stating that he wants to keep fighting because it’s what bought her and his daughter, Leyla (Oona Laurence), everything they always wanted.

The next night, Billy and Maureen attend a charity event for an orphanage and things go horribly wrong. Billy is taunted by a successful boxer, Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez). They both get into a fist fight, but Miguel’s brother, Hector (Danny Henriquez), ends up shooting and killing Maureen.

Losing the person he counted on and the love of his life, Billy begins to abuse drugs and alcohol. Things begin to take a downturn. Billy gets back into the ring after losing his wife, but he’s not on his game. He loses the fight and attacks a referee, which leads to him being suspended and becoming in debt. Thinking there is no way out of his miserable life, Billy becomes intoxicated and drives his car into a tree in front of his house, which leads to Child Protective Services taking Leila away from him. In the end, Billy loses his wife, daughter and everything he ever owned.

After losing custody of his daughter, he is determined to get his life back on track. He tries to mend his relationship with his daughter, but she wants nothing to do with him, making him even more determined to get better for her.

Billy eventually gets a job at a gym, which is owned by a former boxer, Titus Wills (Forest Whitaker). Billy explains to Wills that he knows he’s a good boxer and trainer and begs him to train him. Wills agrees to train Billy, as long as Billy agrees to do what Wills says.

Months go by, and Billy eventually mends his relationship with his daughter and also begins to be a new and improved boxer.

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Billy’s former manager Jordan Mains (Curtis Jackson), now manages Miguel. He sees Billy box for a fundraiser and tries to set up a match between Billy and Miguel. Billy accepts and is determined to not only beat Miguel, but to prove to himself that despite the odds, he can get through anything.

“Southpaw” was released on July 24 and will satisfy anyone looking for a great sports drama film. The film teaches valuable lessons, such as not giving up on yourself when worse comes to worse. Billy loses his wife, daughter and
his belongings all in a week, but he makes a powerful comeback as he gets his life together again.

Gyllenhaal trained hard for the film, and it pays off in the movie. He was dedicated to his role and could really pass himself off as a professional boxer. His character touched my heart, because I could actually feel the pain and heartbreak when his wife died in his arms, which was my favorite scene from Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal and Whitaker have amazing chemistry during the film, making it even more impactful. I felt there was a connection between the two characters as trainer and trainee.
“Southpaw” is on my list of my favorite sports movies, and it’s definitely a must-see. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

 

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