I watched the Mickey Rourke movie The Wrestler the other night, and I thought it was great. In case you haven’t seen it, Rourke plays an aging pro wrestler struggling with his health, his estranged daughter, and a solitary, poor life.
One of the reasons this movie really resonated with me was because I thought it was a moving illustration of the lengths artists and athletes to go to live a life that’s more than ordinary. There are some people who just want more out of life, and in order to achieve it they’re willing to forego time with friends and family spending hours huddled in front of a laptop, or, in the case of The Wrestler, wrestling in a bloody match featuring barbed wire and staple guns.
At the same time, “The Wrestler” wasn’t exactly a glorification of Randy “The Ram’s” life. He’s broken, depressed, estranged from his daughter, and basically alone in life. He’s devoted his life to an unsustainable dream – his body is failing him and he has nothing else to live for.
Ultimately I think the power of the movie comes from the sympathy his quest generates. Most people want something more out of life, and when that fails even despite almost insane efforts and doing every single thing possible, it’s one of life’s great tragedies. People still strive even when it becomes harmful.
Anyone else seen the movie? What do you think about it, and the sometimes simultaneously aspirational and destructive writing life?