Why it might be hard to identify with Mickey:
- He’s quiet and downcast. Dicky steals every scene from him. He has a daughter he’s not raising.
- Once again, the least likeable aspect is the most believable: that daughter that lives with her mom and stepfather. Also, the complex story of Mickey’s sisters and brother and their two dads makes us rightly say, “Nobody would make that up.” We know it’s a true story (they mix in real footage) and including confusing or alienating details like those reassure us that it’s not simplifying or prettifying it. And, of course, Wahlberg makes a very convincing citizen of Massachusetts.
- We begin with a universal situation: Mickey does all the road work while his brother goofs around and tries to pick a pretend fistfight. The next day, he has to wait around while his brother stands him up. When Mickey tries to pick up Charlene, she dismissively says, “I heard you were a stepping stone, the guy they use against the other fighters to move the other fighters up.” When Mickey tells his daughter he’s going to win his upcoming fight, his ex-wife says, “It’s cruel to mislead your child, Mickey.”
- Mickey’s a bad ass (he beats up a patron disrespecting Charlene) but he’s a thinking man’s fighter: “Boxing’s a chess game, I’m gonna pick my punches to take him down.”
- Eat: They all go out drinking.
- Exercise: Very much so, he’s shadowboxing, walking all over town, punching a punching bag, and finally sparring in the ring.
- Economic Activity: He’s working raking gravel for the city and he’s got a prizefight coming up.
- Enjoy: He enjoys shadowboxing with his brother and drinking with his family (though he’s a little discontent in each situation.)
- Emulate: He’s expected to emulate his brother, who fought Sugar Ray Leonard, but he’s tired of emulating him.
- He lays down his rake to spar with his brother.
- Very much! It’s quickly made clear that the black people of Lowell love Mickey and Dicky, though we’ll never see them again.
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