The Real Steel is the Real Deal!

Derek Ouellette —  October 19, 2011

Who goes to the movies on a Wednesday? I mean seriously. Tuesday’s I understand. Thursday’s I understand. Heck, I even get Sunday matinees. But Wednesday? Well apparently not many, and certainly not while it is torrentially raining outside. I know this from experience, I went to go see a movie tonight (Wednesday) in spite of the torrential rain and that I would much rather have stayed in.

The reason my wife and I decided to go on this little date is because tomorrow morning is my hernia operation and I wanted to get my mind off of it.

We picked The Real Steel, a movie I had a mild interest in, but I can say without hesitation that it has become my favourite movie of 2011 so far. It hit home on so many levels (pun intended).

Some may consider bits of the following to be a spoiler alert.

It’s a relatively clean movie. No sex, one kiss scene if I recall, a few mild cuss words and, of course, robot violence.

This is a movie that deals with absentee fathers, reckless adulthood, life-filled regrets and a son who wants more than anything in the world to be loved by the father he never knew. It’s also a story about an underdog. All of these things pretty much describe how I felt growing up. Perhaps this movie had such an impact on me because I resonate with almost every part of it.

I’m one of those politically un-correct, chauvinistic types who believes that fatherhood is critically important. My parents divorced before my second birthday. I saw my real dad three or four times a year. My step-dad (who is now passed away) spent more time with the TV then with me. And I find myself yearning for a father-figure almost every day.

At one critical point in the film (and here is your spoiler alert), Max’s (Hugh Jackman’s son in the movie) robot Atom’s command functions break. Max switches the controls in the back of the robot to put it on “shadow mode” and begs his dad (a former box before the sport was taken over by robotics) to box on the side of the ring (the robot shadow’s Jackman’s moves). Then at a critical moment the boy looks over at his dad boxing away hitting the air, fully flexed like a champion having the time of his life and all of a sudden in Max’s little world nothing else mattered. Not the match. Not the victory. Not concern for his robot. Tears begin to stream down his face as he finally got to see his screwed up, good for nothing, now turned-around dad – his own dad – be his hero.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.