Reviewed by: Jonathan Potts—first time reviewer
loss of loved one
feelings of inadequacy and a desperate need for love, money and fame
constant use of alcohol or drugs to dull emotion pain
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
daughter taken by Child Services / Social Services/Foster Care
home repossessed by the bank
dealing with loss
forgiveness vs. revenge
your greatest opponent can be yourself
working to become a new man
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What about the Psalm 91 promises? (“…no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent…”) Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
the sport of boxing
|Featuring:||Jake Gyllenhaal … Billy Hope
Forest Whitaker … Titus “Tick” Wills
Rachel McAdams … Maureen Hope
Naomie Harris … Angela Rivera
Rita Ora … Maria Escobar
50 Cent … Jordan Mains
Miguel Gomez (Miguel Gómez) … Miguel Escobar
Beau Knapp … Jon Jon
Clare Foley … Alice
Victor Ortiz … Ramone
Grace Marie Williams … Jordan's Girl
Oona Laurence … Leila Hope
Skylan Brooks … Hoppy
Dominic Colón (Dominic Colon) … Mikey
|Director:||Antoine Fuqua—“Training Day” (2001), “Shooter” (2007), “The Equalizer” (2014)|
|Distributor:||The Weinstein Company|
“Believe in hope.”
In “Southpaw,” Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope—a champion boxer who’s at the top of his sport when his world suddenly comes crashing down. In the aftermath of tragedy, Billy is faced with the biggest fight of his life—the fight to save his family.
Gyllenhaal, fresh from his Golden Globe nominated role in 2014’s “Nightcrawler,” delivers another knock-out performance in this powerful film that will undoubtedly be seen by some as a “21st-century Rocky.” It’s obvious that Jake spent time in the ring training for “Southpaw,” and his work definitely paid off. He’s very convincing, taking plenty of hits, as well as dishing them out, in a series of bouts worthy of Pay-Per-View.
Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson round out the supporting cast, playing Jake’s wife, daughter, trainer, and agent, respectively. They all add dramatic gravitas to this heavyweight film.
Jake and Rachel are protective of their daughter’s innocence, wanting to shelter her from the violent shows that her friends watch on TV, and also the brutality of Jake’s boxing matches.
Jake submits to his wife by agreeing (at her request) to take a break from boxing to spend more time with his family.
Although much of “Southpaw” is permeated by foul language, Forest Whitaker’s character doesn’t allow the use of foul language in his gym. As you can imagine, this rule is broken a few times, but it is nice to see that his character is trying to create a clean and safe environment for the kids who train there.
Forest, seeing the desperate situation that Jake is in, has compassion on him and becomes sort of a father-figure to Jake. This is significant because it is revealed that Jake grew up in the foster care system and probably didn’t have parental role models.
Jake’s character goes through a dramatic transformation in “Southpaw.” As the film starts, he is a proud fighter motivated by ego and, as it ends, he is a humble father motivated by love.
Language: Over 70 f—words (including one f—word from Jake’s young daughter), 1 middle finger, 3 dozen s—words, g*d-damn (1), hell (3), a** (5), and p*ssy (2).
Violence: The boxing matches are very realistic, with the kinds of bloody eyes and mouths that are to be expected. Jake has a short temper, and there are a handful of violent outbursts in the first half of the film (although none directed toward his family). There is a fist-fight outside the ring. There is one shooting, which is not graphic, but there is some blood shown in the aftermath. In an intense dramatic scene, Jake’s young daughter strikes him several times.
Sex/Nudity: During the boxing matches, the “ring girls” wear 2-piece, bikini-style outfits. Rachel wears a low-cut dress in the opening scene. Rachel straddles Jake in bed (both clothed). Rachel’s dress is pulled up, revealing her panties. Rachel and Jake start to kiss, and the scene ends. Rachel is shown in an open bathrobe wearing 2-piece lingerie (non-sexual context). Jake sits naked in the shower (non-sexual context). It’s a shot from the side and no frontal nudity is shown.
Alcohol/Drugs: In one scene, it is revealed that Jake was driving while intoxicated. There are a couple of scenes with Jake and Forest in a bar. Jake orders water and Forest has an alcoholic beverage.
Make no mistake—“Southpaw” is a very intense film—intense language, intense action, and intense drama. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you have a good idea of where the story goes.
Jake’s character is taken to some dark places, both metaphorically and literally—much of the first half of the movie takes place at night. And, because of the tragic direction of the plot, I was expecting this film to be about revenge.
However, I was pleasantly shocked to discover that “Southpaw” is actually about love. It’s about a man whose entire life is stripped away from him, until the only things that remain are humility and his love for his daughter. Yes, this is a weighty film that treads through some thick mire but, in my opinion, the redemption that comes may make the journey worthwhile.
“Southpaw” is a film for boxing fans. It’s also a film for those who are interested in redemptive stories, and are willing to endure the darkness in order to make it to the light. That said, this is not a film for kids, or for those who are sensitive to vulgar language.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.