Directed by: Ben Younger
Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal, Ted Levine, Ciarán Hinds
The inspirational true story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near fatal car crash, which left him not knowing if he’d ever walk again, made one of sport’s most incredible comebacks.
– via IMDb
Let me just start out by saying that Bleed For This is not a film that I would have typically chosen to view. It’s not that I don’t enjoy films with sports related themes, but I just never go out of my way to watch them. The funny thing about that is, whenever I come across one by accident, I end up really enjoying it. This is exactly what happened when I came across Bleed For This by complete and utter fluke.
Bleed For This stars Miles Teller as Vinny Pazienza in this true story about a boxer who must overcome a severe injury at the peak of his career that has left him not knowing if he will ever be able to walk again, let alone fight. Miles Teller is one of those actors that you just know is going places. He is an absolutely phenomenal actor that never ceases to amaze me with the roles that he takes on. He delivers the perfect combination of drama and comedy. He’s just so natural in his delivery and he definitely had the audience feeling every single emotion his character was feeling in the moment.
Can I just say…I didn’t even realize Aaron Eckhart was in this film until about half way through. I knew he looked familiar and I spend the first half of the film trying to figure it out before I finally had an epiphany. He definitely transformed a bit for his role as Vinny’s coach, Kevin Rooney, and it completely paid off. The chemistry between Teller and Eckhart was fantastic. Who else thinks they were totally actually laughing during the dinner scene? That shoulder shaking laugh was just too great to be fake.
I would totally be okay with Katey Sagal continuing to play mother characters for the rest of my life. She’s just so good at it and they’re always so different from one another. Whether it’s the badass over-protective type as she portrayed so well in Sons of Anarchy or the nervous, but supportive type in Bleed For This, I absolutely loved Katey Sagal.
Like Katey Sagal’s character, I was a complete nervous wreck while watching this film. I definitely felt anxious throughout a good chunk of this film. All you want is for Vinny to recover, but being the stubborn man that he is, he puts his recovery in jeopardy on multiple occasions. I’m not one to look away during films, but my anxiety was so bad…I’m sure the patrons on either side of my could feel my entire body tensing followed by my leg shaking. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this way while watching a film.
Now, as mentioned, Bleed For This is based on a true story. I’m not sure if you can blame this on my millennial status, but I had never heard of Vinny Pazienza before watching this film. I knew nothing about him or his story before going into this film. As I said, it was a completely fluke I even got to see it in the first place. Hell, I didn’t even know he got into any sort of accident. So you can imagine why this film gave me so much anxiety. I didn’t know if he would walk again. I didn’t know if he would recover properly. I didn’t know if he would fight again. I didn’t even know whether or not the real Vinny Pazienza was still alive. Sometimes it’s great to go into a film blindly. I learned about someone that I probably would have never heard of if I hadn’t seen this film.
Vinny’s story is one hell of an inspirational one. Is he stubborn? Yes. Was he a bit of an idiot at times? Yes. But if he didn’t push himself, if he didn’t take a few risks…and gambles…his story may have turned out to be completely different. Vinny’s story is definitely a memorable one and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to view this film early at the Toronto International Film Festival. I highly recommend checking this one out.