Hard to believe, but it was back in 2005 when Cinderella Man hit the big screen - yes, it really was a decade ago.

Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man

Boxing movie Cinderella Man was the first film for Howard since The Missing in 2003 and saw him reunite with actor Russell Crowe for their first film project together since the success of A Beautiful Mind four years before.

Cinderella Man was inspired by the life story of heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock. Crowe took on the central role of Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who battled back to taste glory once again in the 1930s.

I love a good sporting biopic and boxing movies tend to be some of the most powerful and dramatic - Cinderella Man continues that fine trend and is a wonderful character driven story and underdog tale.

I have been a fan of Crowe for many years and Cinderella Man sees him deliver another powerful and touching performance. He really does get under the skin of this fighter, who gets back into the ring as a way of providing for his family during the Great Depression.

Braddock is a fighter who really who stuns all the boxing experts with his return and Crowe really does capture the fighting spirit of Braddock; he is a man who is willing to go that extra mile to take care of his wife and kids.

Renee Zellweger gives one of the best performances of her career as Braddock's wife, who is relieved when her husband leaves boxing behind but accepts that he needs to return in order for them to survive.

There is a wonderful bond and chemistry between Crowe and Zellweger and you really believe the love that is between this struggling husband and wife. Paul Giamatti is also fantastic as Braddock's long-time manager Joe Gould, who is also struggling during the Depression era.

Cinderella Man is one of those wonderful rags to riches stories that has real heart at the film's core. This is a story that will not fail to move you and you will be willing Braddock to triumph as he steps in the ring for his shot at the heavyweight championship.

Howard has once again excelled in telling this true and very human story - Cinderella Man is much about Braddock out of the ring as it is about him in it. Howard has also captured the period beautifully and you really are transported to Depression Era New Jersey.

Despite being a movie that opened to a great critical response, Cinderella Man was a movie that did struggle at the global box office; it really should have done so much better than it actually did.

Cinderella Man went on to be nominated for three Oscars - Best Supporting Actor for Giamatti, Best Film Editing, and Best Makeup. Crowe and Giamatti also picked up acting nominations at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Award.

In The Heart of the Sea is released 26th December.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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