Bruised Parent Guide
Moments of brilliance are overwhelmed by an unwieldy script and a flood of negative content.
Parent Movie Review
Years after a humiliating defeat that ended her MMA career, Jackie Justice (Halle Berry) is just trying to survive, moving from job to job and struggling with alcoholism. But when her son (Danny Boyd Jr.), whom she had given up as an infant, comes back into her life, Jackie has a choice: continue the life she has, or fight for a better one for her son. With the help of a new trainer, Buddhakan (Sheila Atim), Jackie decides to reenter the ring and face her demons, both past and present.
Sports movies are, with very few exceptions, possibly the most clichéd genre of film. The stories always follow the same beats, there’s always a montage, and the characters all fit into the same box of stereotypes. Bruised tries to break free of some of these conventions by focusing in on character and adding elements of social and psychological commentary. Unfortunately, the clichés seem inescapable, as the writers fall back into them in between strokes of originality. The end product is predictable and overly long, but with enough flashes of brilliance to elevate it slightly above its genre.
Halle Berry’s performance is the focus here and she is brilliant. Under a less talented lead the film would have broken under the weight of the many thematic and story elements, but Berry balances them all with ease. She is powerful and vulnerable, broken but strong. I would not be surprised if her performance gets noticed this awards season. And the supporting cast are all commendable as well, particularly Sheila Atim and Adriane Lenox, as Jackie’s mom. This is also Berry’s directorial debut, and for a first timer, she does a commendable job with an unwieldly script.
Obviously, because of the subject matter, this is a violent movie. Most of the violence is within an athletic context, but there is also some brief domestic violence. There are two sex scenes, as well as discussion of childhood sexual assault. Some characters struggle with substance addiction, and there are near-constant expletives. This is absolutely not a film for children or teens. For adults, it depends on your stomach for negative content as well as your tolerance for the sports genre. Berry’s performance is phenomenal, and the story does have some glimpses of brilliance, but overall, I don’t think that’s enough to overcome its shortcomings. Instead of a knockout, Bruised ends in a chokehold.Directed by Halle Berry. Starring Halle Berry, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Shamier Anderson. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release November 24, 2021. Updated November 23, 2021
Rating & Content Info
Why is Bruised rated R? Bruised is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language, some sexual content/nudity and violence
Violence: There is MMA fighting in many scenes, which includes punching, grappling, headbutting, and kicking. Fighters are seen with various injuries, including bloody faces. There is a brief scene of domestic violence. There is a brief discussion of a man taking a bullet to the head.
Sexual Content: A woman is seen topless from behind. A man and woman have sex there is no nudity, but there is obvious thrusting and sexual sounds. A woman discusses childhood sexual assault. Two women have sex. Breasts are seen briefly.
Profanity: There is somewhere in the ballpark of 80 sexual expletives, 13 terms of deity, dozens of mild and moderate expletives, and some uses of a racial slur.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking and smoking throughout. Various characters struggle with substance addictions, including a woman who is addicted to pills.
Page last updated November 23, 2021
Bruised Parents' Guide
What motivates Jackie to get back into the ring? What changes does she start to make in her life and how do they affect her relationships?
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