Foxcatcher directed by Academy Award nominee Bennet Miller (Moneyball) captures the story of poverty stricken Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Shutlz (Channing Tatum) who is lured by the eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell). Shultz’s resentment towards his more successful brother Dave (Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo) deepens when he is recruited to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Eager to win the approval of his condemning mother (Vanessa Redgrave), du Pont appointments himself “coach” of the Olympic wrestling team. By arrogance and indifference towards others du Pont takes on the “fatherly” role of Shultz (who was raised by his brother). His destructive behavior pulls the emotionally needy Shultz into drugs and alcohol spinning him downward into failure. Based on a true story, Foxcatcher pins the heart down with affection, desperation and grandeur vision ending tragically.
With motherly eyes I was carried away by this movie. Deep sympathy swept over me as my heart broke watching Mark Shultz suffer such a depressive reality. John du Pont’s repulsive attitude towards the wrestler triggered my motherly instinct itching me to reach out and hug Shultz protectively. The slow pace of the movie added to the “weight” that Shultz carried on his shoulders luring him to perform for his trainer similarly to a well trained horse — I could feel that pull weighing me down as the movie progressed. At the end of the movie I felt sad for Mark, because his life now doesn’t seem to have improved much since his days as a professional wrestler. The movie started with mundane self-defeating drudgery only to repeat itself all over again, or rather Mark continued from where he left off before moving to Foxcatcher Farm.
In the words of Lemony Snicket (from his book “A Series of Unfortunate Events – The Bad Beginning”), “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.” With this said, Foxcatcher is worth going the movie theater to watch. It will grip your heart from beginning to end.
Foxcatcher is rated R and opens in theaters on Friday, November 14, 2014.
* Catalina attended a screening for editorial purposes.