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Discussion Guide: Cinderella Man


Movie Synopsis

Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger star in the triumphant true story of a boxer who fights to win a second chance for his family and becomes an unlikely national hero.

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Discussion Questions

  1. Is Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) a positive coach? If so, in what ways does he demonstrate this?
  2. What were the steps that James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) took to overcome adversity and become a champion again?
  3. What life lessons did Braddock learn in his time away from boxing and in his return to the ring?
  4. Does Max Baer respect his opponent, Jimmy Braddock? Does Jimmy respect Max? How does this respect impact performance?
  5. What is Jimmy’s main motivation to succeed? Is it simply to win?
  6. How do Jimmy’s actions influence the society and community he lives in?

What Parents Need To Know

Parents need to know that the boxing scenes are intense, featuring slam-cuts, close-ups, brutal sound effects, and images of bloody, beaten flesh. The boxer and his family (including three young, adoring children) suffer poverty, cold winters with no heat, and hunger. Characters smoke, drink, use some language ("Go to hell"), and argue, sometimes vehemently. One character dies from a beating during a scuffle with police. The boxer and his wife kiss earnestly. The film's focus, however, is on its inspiring "message," namely, the underdog fighter -- too old, too small, and too out of practice -- returns to the ring, triumphant as if by sheer will and determination.

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  1. Our partner, Positive Coaching Alliance, provides a collection of movie discussion guides, which aim to help you make the most out of movie viewing with your team or child. Movies provide many of "teachable moments" parents can share with their young athletes helping them be successful, contributing members of society.
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