Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Effective true-life boxing story has violence and drugs.

Movie R 2017 101 minutes
Chuck Poster Image

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Based on the true story of Chuck Wepner, this biopic seems more like an anecdote than a story, but the lack of important events allows room for the character to come alive. In Chuck, Liev Schreiber is quite impressive as the boxer, physically transforming into the real thing, battling it out in the ring covered in sweat and blood and finding an emotional core to the wants and needs of this character -- the tragedy of nearly achieving fame and then losing it.

The Ali fight and the meetings with Stallone are clearly the highlights of the movie, as they were in Chuck's life, and director Philippe Falardeau gives them an irresistible energy (the actors who portray these legends in their youth are a fine touch, too). The character's life goes downhill, and though -- through the grimy, gaudy cinematography -- it may seem as if the film is also going that way, it somehow stays emotionally potent. Despite the fact that Chuck makes many of the mistakes that characters in biopics usually make (drugs, foolishly spending money, alienating his wife and kids, etc.), they seem like honest errors. And, like the little poems Chuck tries to write for people, the movie turns out to be both naive and sweetly appealing. Naomi Watts helps a great deal as the wise, cynical bartender who catches Chuck's eye.

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