After finishing The Wrestler, I felt a bit depressed. To say that this is a serious movie is an understatement. This is a somber, even dour piece of film making. Some said it was "gritty." I'll say. It's gritty like your mouth must feel after having been sucker punched in the face.
The Oscar buzz around Mickey Rourke is deserved. His character is relentless in his remorse. He knows he's alone, and he seeks the warmth of two women who won't give him the real time of day (a stripper, played by Marisa Tomei, and his estranged daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood). However, despite being rewarded by both for some sincere attempts at connecting, he finds the allure of the ring too strong to turn away from.
My wife kept talking about "the stapler scene", and yes, there's a lot of bloody violence in this movie. The director, Darren Aronofsky, very early on reveals that the violence is all pre-arranged, blood and all, but it's still slightly sickening to watch.
While reading the message boards about this movie, I learned that even though the ending felt "open", I realized that decisions were made, that conclusions were reached. I didn't think that happened for Mickey's character, Randy the Ram. But when he's in the ring, reveling in the adoration of his faithful fans, you get the feeling that he's made some peace with himself.
It's a fascinating though difficult movie to watch.