Didn’t I say I wanted a little breather from “emotional” films? Well, I thought i was accomplishing that by seeing “Southpaw,” well because boxing, and all that. But, I ended up bawling here. It’s one of those manipulative boxing movies, destined to tug at your heartstrings, and whaddayouknow, they got me hook line, and sinker. It is one of those movies that are so predisposed to doing it, that even if some things are illogical, you just accept it for the same of the narrative. You cry with pleasure, then you realize it is of the guilty kind. Jake Gylenhaal, playing Billy Hope, is beyond fantastic here. I have been loyal to him over the years, ever since he did Brokeback, and some of his projects are more gratifying than others. Here he gives a performance for the ages, and I hope he gets remembered during awards season. He’s gritty, he is hard as a rock with his buffed body in all the boxing scenes, but he also displays a great amount of vulnerability and softness that we get a well-rounded performance for him despite his underwritten character (what made him the way he is?) and you never take your eyes away for him. And he broke my heart here a thousand times – that final scene was like an arrow that hit me. It just goes to show I believed in him, and his character, even though even Ray Charles wold be able to see that plot turn a mile away. Rachel McAdams, in a brief role, was great as well, and little Oona Laurence, playing their daughter served as the perfect pawn for the plot manipulations. At times, the movie was hard to watch, as I am never a fan of blood and gore, and of boxing in general, but I have to say that the movie served whatever purpose it set out to do.