Also doing OK is Braddock's loyal manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti, in a third home run after "American Splendor" and "Sideways").
Then Braddock breaks his right hand, loses some matches so badly his license is taken away, and descends with his family to grim poverty in the early days of the Depression.
They find human ways to mirror the descent into despair; the Braddock family's poverty, for example, seems to weigh most heavily on the oldest son, Jay (Connor Price), who fears above all being sent away to live with "rich" relatives -- rich here meaning those with something to eat.
He steals a sausage from a butcher shop, is caught, and then, in a scene typical of Braddock's gentle wisdom, is not punished by his father, but talked to, softly and earnestly, because his father instinctively knows why his son stole the sausage, and that the kid's daring was almost noble.
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Gilbert Espinoza English 12 Perkins 12 November 2014 There are many similarities between the short story “A Piece of Steak” and “Cinderella Man”.Up to this point, there would not be a comeback, and no occasion for Damon Runyon nicknames.Braddock gets one more chance at a fight, as Gould edges him past the doubts of promoter Jimmy Johnston (Bruce Mc Gill).Russell Crowe makes him fascinating, and it takes a moment or two of thought to appreciate how difficult that must have been.The Ebert Club is our hand-picked selection of content for Ebert fans.What is remarkable during both the highs and the lows is that Braddock, as Crowe plays him, remains level-headed, sweet-tempered and concerned about his family above all.Perhaps it takes a tough guy like Crowe to make Braddock's goodness believable.There is a moment early in "Cinderella Man" when we see Russell Crowe in the boxing ring, filled with cocky self-confidence, and I thought I knew what direction the story would take. I walked in knowing nothing about Jim Braddock, "The Bulldog of Bergen," whose riches-to-rags-to-riches career inspired the movie.My friend Bill Nack of Sports Illustrated, who just won the A. Liebling Award, the highest honor a boxing writer can attain, could have told me all about Braddock, but I am just as happy to have gone in cold, so that I could be astonished by Crowe's performance.You'd have to go back to actors like James Stewart and Spencer Tracy to find such goodness and gentleness.Tom Hanks could handle the assignment, but do you see any one of them as a prizefighter? As the film opens, Braddock is riding high with a series of victories that buy a comfortable, but not opulent, lifestyle for his wife Mae (Renee Zellweger) and their children Jay, Rosemarie and Howard.