"There’s an extra thrill that comes from loving a movie you thought you were going to hate. Darren Aronofsky is a director whose intellectual reach tends to exceed his artistic grasp. Though the scope of his ambition may be admirable—The Fountain is about nothing less than Hugh Jackman’s quest to transcend mortality—Aronofsky’s films have always struck me as adolescent fantasies: self-consciously big ideas wrapped in lurid, overcomposed images. So the scruffy, almost accidental beauty of The Wrestler comes as even more of a surprise than the greatness of Mickey Rourke’s performance. The idea that Rourke, an ’80s sex symbol coming off 20 years of Bukowski-esque dissolution, had this in him makes a crazy sort of sense. That Aronofsky had it in him is a rebuke to the complacency of viewers who, like me, thought they had his number."
Honestly, out of nowhere, Dana Stevens has become perhaps the best film critic working right now. When’s the last time you saw a film critic admit they were wrong in the first paragraph? (And for the record, she was wrong.) I think she might be a great film critic because, unlike almost every film critic I’ve ever met, she appears to be a normal, sane, socially competent human being. That tends to help.
Oh, and please go see The Wrestler. I might have mentioned this before.