Movie Review: Halle Berry Dives Head First In 'Bruised' - Celebrity Bug


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Movie Review: Halle Berry Dives Head First In 'Bruised'

What makes Halle Berry such a great actress is that regardless of the role, lead or supporting, good or bad, you never doubt her commitment to giving it everything that she’s got, and that commitment is more than evident in her latest film, ‘Bruised’, which debuted in theaters yesterday (11/17) and will hit Netflix a week later (11/24).

In the film, she plays Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter looking for redemption after her last fight left her crawling out the cage. It’s the classic fight story, but in this instance, Jackie is also fighting to be a mom to the son that she abandoned years ago.

For the role, Berry dives in headfirst (literally headbutting her opponent in the early moments of the film) by putting herself through grueling training for nearly three years and helping reimagine the story that was originally written for a young white woman, and had Blake Lively attached as its star. It’s a familiar fight that Berry has faced for most of her career and one that she, for the most part, wins here as she also steps behind the camera for the first time.

Berry is fearless as Jackie providing both the physically needed to believe that she is a fighter and the emotional awareness to deliver in the dramatic scenes. There are few actresses as gifted at displaying the strength of a broken woman, and if anyone needed a reminder, she shows that she is far greater than the material that she has been rewarded by delivering her best performance since her powerfully understated work in ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’.

She also shows potential as a director and despite some choppy shots here and there that lack fluidity, you can tell Berry cares about each and every character as she frames their faces in ways that bring the best out of them. Danny Boyd Jr., who plays Manny, says so much with his eyes without saying a thing at all, Sheila Atim is revelation as her trainer turned lover Buddhakan, Adriane Lenox is great as her mom and Stephen McKinley Henderson feels at ease as Pops despite his presence being severely underused until the final stretch.

Still, ‘Bruised’ does take quite a beating in the grand scheme of things as the script by first-time screenwriter Michelle Rosenfarb is a laundry list of cliches that are often put out there without any true resolution. The characters feel undeveloped and with the story being so familiar there needed to be something that separates it from the pack besides a black female protagonist.

There isn’t and as a result, the only thing that leaves a mark are the performances.

3 OUT OF 5

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