Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Movie Review ~ Southpaw

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Southpaw, rated R
***

Jake Gyllenhaal follows up his excellent performance as Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler with another superb performance as Billy Hope, the light heavyweight champion of the world. Billy is married to Maureen, or Mo, played by Rachel McAdams. They met when she was 12, both being orphans and foster children in the New York City system. They now live in a mansion in New York City with their 10-year old daughter Leila, who was played by Oona Laurence in a strong performance. He is surrounded by a posse of friends who are living a good life by being associated with the champ.

Mo is concerned with the increasing beatings that Billy is taking in his fights and pleads for him to take some time off, against the wishes of his manager Jordan Mains (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). After speaking at a charity event, Billy is taunted by an up-and-coming boxer, Miguel “Magic” Escobar (Miguel Gomez). When Escobar makes comments about Mo, things escalate and Billy can’t control his anger, leading to a brawl which will change everything for him.

Forest Whitaker, one of our better actors, delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Titus “Tick” Wills, a former boxer. Tick now runs a boxing gym in Harlem, serving as a mentor to many boys. He develops a close relationship with Billy. Naomie Harris plays Angela Rivera, a Child Protective Services case worker.

This powerful film contains themes of family, responsibility, humility, loyalty, friendship, pain, anger, revenge and redemption. Though Tick drinks too much, we see that he has a relationship with God, at one difficult point telling Billy “God must have some kind of plan to teach me some kind of lesson. I just can’t figure out what it is.”

The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua and Kurt Sutter. Rapper Eminem was originally pegged to play the Billy Hope character. Eminem does provide some of the film’s music, notably the track “Phenomenal”.

In addition to the boxing violence that is expected, there is a significant amount of adult language included in both the dialogue and in some of the music featured in the film. The language will be enough to keep some away from this film and the fine acting performances from Gyllenhaal, Whitaker and Laurence.

James Horner provided the film’s score. This was his final work as he was killed in a plane crash on June 22.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/author/billpence Tammy Pence's Amazon Author Page

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