As part of its award-winning Guelcher Film Series, the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center will screen the Darren Aronofsky film "The Wrestler" on Wednesday, May 13, at 2:15 and 8 p.m.
Written by Robert Siegel, who also wrote the faux news documentary "The Onion Movie," "The Wrestler" stars Mickey Rourke as an aging professional wrestler determined not to give up grappling despite its diminishing returns.
Rourke made sense for the part because of his own languishing career. Since his starring roles in romantic comedies such as 1987’s "Barfly" and 1989’s "Wild Orchids," little had been made of the hard-partying, self-destructive actor. He had given up life on-screen for some time in the 1990s in order to train as a boxer, and the truthfulness and authenticity Rourke puts into the role are evident.
Newsweek critic David Ansen wrote that Rourke’s playing of Randy "The Ram" Robinson is "as perfect a casting call as Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" and Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood."
Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman noted that Rourke’s acting, coupled with the movie’s grainy, no-holds-barred style of filming, transcends the classic Hollywood myth of "a has-been looking for redemption."
Rourke is in part so lovable because of the people surrounding him. He is consoled after he has a heart attack by his stripper girlfriend Cassidy (Marisa Tomei, "My Cousin Vinny," "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead") and daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood, "Across the Universe," "Running With Scissors"), neither of whom come across as stereotypes, both deeply humanizing and sympathizing individuals.
Randy "The Ram" Robinson is relegated to the third-tier VFW halls that comprise a down-and-out wrestler’s tour dates. The movie’s plot turns when Robinson attempts to set up an in-ring re-match with his 1980s arch-nemesis, "The Ayatollah."
Tomei and Rourke were both nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in "The Wrestler." Rourke was beat out by Sean Penn, who starred in the biopic "Milk," which screened in the PAC earlier this year.
Tickets for "The Wrestler" can be obtained at the PAC Box Office before the screenings. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and non-Mercyhurst students, $3 for President’s Card holders and free for Mercyhurst students with student ID.
The Guelcher Film Series will continue to play at 2:15 and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays through the end of school and into summer vacation.
For those interested, the rest of the year’s schedule is as follows. "Frozen River" will play May 20. The documentary "Stranded" will screen May 27. Meryll Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman star in June 3’s "Doubt," which was nominated for five Oscars in 2009. This year’s series is rounded out with "Moscow, Belgium" on June 10.