The Boxer
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Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father) directed this drama about a Belfast boxer, filmed with Dublin locations substituting for Belfast. Released after his 14-year prison sentence for IRA activities, 32-year-old Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) returns to his old neighborhood and sees former-flame Maggie (Emily Watson), who has an unhappy marriage and now raises her son alone while her husband is in prison. To get back in the boxing ring, Danny gets the community-center gym back in operation and starts training, encountering opposition from militant IRA members, including Harry (Gerald… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"In each film he makes, Day-Lewis seems to adopt a new persona."
‑ Bob Thomas, Associated Press
"With Watson and Day-Lewis you can almost feel the heat, and their situation never feels contrived or artificial."
‑ Paul Clinton (,
"What makes The Boxer as potent as it is are the performances, especially Daniel Day-Lewis' contained powerhouse. His Danny is a closed-off man, shadowboxing with his private demons, who comes painfully, but gloriously, back to life."
‑ Serena Donadoni, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
"We never figure out, though, what drives Day-Lewis' Danny. We just take it on faith that he's stubborn and sick of violence. The filmmakers don't help much, offering just a twist on the star-crossed lovers story, mixed with standard boxing melodrama."
‑ Matt Soergel, Florida Times-Union
"It still packs a knockout punch thanks to Day-Lewis' typically gutsy performance."
‑ , Total Film
"Day-Lewis has the ability to make the will to nonviolence look positively volcanic. And Watson, with her 200-watt incandescence, makes longing look radiant."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"The critic dutifully tabulated each blunt plot point, each refried cliche.. And yet, when Danny's nemesis did something monstrously rotten, the critic was so enraged by the dastardly act that he had to stop himself from spitting his candy."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"An intelligent, provocative piece of cinema, with something quite bold to say in the Irish context."
‑ David Stratton,
"The art-house dream-team pairing of Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson amounts to more of a soft jab than a knockout punch."
‑ Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
"One of Sheridan's best."
‑ , Film4
"If The Boxer doesn't quite score a knockout, that's because of such flaws as the too-sketchy development of the character of Maggie's son, who turns out to be pivotal. But the movie carries the day by aiming its strongest punches straight at the heart."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"Though we've seen this unquiet terrain before, this new film about boxing, star-crossed lovers and the Irish Republican Army temporarily gives us fresh eyes."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"A knock-out performance by Daniel Day-Lewis is the highlight of this admirable if rather conventional drama."
‑ Tom Hutchinson, Radio Times
"In this dull film, poignant characters caught up in histrionics flail with one glove, while much emotional shadowboxing is done with the other."
‑ Roger Hurlburt, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"The screenplay of The Boxer spends too much time and energy setting up the basic situations of its plot, then does a spotty job of blending the material's personal and political aspects."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
More reviews for The Boxer on Rotten Tomatoes

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