Cinderella Man is a 2005 American drama film directed by Ron Howard. The film is based on real-life events that focus on the life of the professional boxer James J. Braddock and his struggle through the Great Depression. The main characters portrayed in the film are very diverse and versatile throughout the story. Howard’s technique was to construct the characters to all have unique and varied personalities which make the viewer feel more immersed in the film. Throughout the film, the main characters undergo a change in personality which allows them to dynamically change with the story.
James J. Braddock is an excellent example of Howard’s technique in the film; to create a dynamic and heroic character who defies the odds. James J. Braddock is first encountered in the first scene of the film, fighting an opponent in the boxing ring and winning by knockout. Braddock’s attitude for winning in the opening scene highlights Braddock’s success as a boxer before the events of the Great Depression. Five years later, during the time of the Great Depression, Braddock and his family are shown to be in a small house with very low lighting, in contrast to the suburban house they used to own. Howard used this scene to mark the first major turning point in the film. Braddock is faced with an opportunity to briefly return to the ring to support his family, and despite his injuries and his aging body he accepts the fight. “I have to believe that when things are bad I can change them”. The determination shown by Braddock is another turning point in the film and allows him to continue fighting regularly to support his family. Throughout Braddock’s fights and injuries in the film, his thoughts of his family and future allow him to surpass his struggles and ultimately win the world title from Max Baer.