Films & Schedules

  • The Wrestler

  • Darren Aronofsky

105 minutes

Production Company:
Protozoa Pictures
Executive Producer:
Vincent Maraval, Agnes Mentre, Jennifer Roth
Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin
Robert Siegel
Production Designer:
Timothy Grimes
Maryse Alberti
Andrew Weisblum
Jacob Ribicoff
Clint Mansell
Principal Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

International Sales Agent:
Wild Bunch

Sunday September 0706:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Tuesday September 0912:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1309:00AM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

In a performance of astonishing commitment, detail and emotional impact, Mickey Rourke reclaims his position at the pinnacle of American acting in The Wrestler. It is no overstatement to say that Rourke advances the discipline in this portrait of a professional wrestler long past his prime, now eking out a living making blood sport for cheap entertainment. Director Darren Aronofsky strips this story of all false sentiment, producing a pure, vivid character study that is Rourke's best performance to date.

Back in the eighties, Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) was at the top of his game, but twenty-five years later he finds himself trapped by the only thing he knows how to do: fight other men for money. This is not the safe pantomime that professional wrestling has become in the public imagination, but a circuit of gruelling, untelevised fights in front of crowds screaming for carnage. Randy and his fellow fighters form a ragged brotherhood, propped up by a routine of gym workouts, steroids, tanning beds and choreographed mayhem in the ring. But Randy is already working the hard edge of this underground circuit; faced with one opponent who plays to the crowd's bloodlust, he goes to the wall.

Outside the ring, all he has to show for his life is a painful relationship with his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood, who shares the film's most affecting scene with Rourke) and a tentative romance with stripper Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). These are scraps, but from them, Randy begins to rebuild his life.

With The Wrestler, Aronofsky leaves behind the dazzling intellectual reflections of Pi and Requiem for a Dream as he reaches for the raw soul of his characters. Allowing for flashes of humour and emphasizing the physical over the mental, he establishes parallels between Randy's work in the ring and Cassidy's in her strip club. As these two ravaged characters come together, the effect is in its own way epic and heartbreaking.

Cameron Bailey

Darren Aronofsky was born in Brooklyn and studied live-action and animated film at Harvard University. His feature films include Pi (98), which won the dramatic directing award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, and Requiem for a Dream, which screened at the Festival in 2000 and earned Ellen Burstyn a best actress Academy Award® nomination that year. His previous film, The Fountain, played at the Festival in 2006. The Wrestler (08) is his most recent film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award