Just saw The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. For those who haven’t seen it, stop reading.
It sets up a problematic of living two lives. For Rourke’s character, Randy ‘The Ram’, this is in and out of the ring. In the ring he is a much loved and respected pro-wrestler. Out of the ring is where he really struggles. Throughout the film you see him put his body through hell, and you get an insight into how US culture spawned Jackass as an iteration of pro-wrestling as the spectacle of (real?) human suffering. When I mean ‘real’ I mean the older wrestlers’ bodies are broken (old vs new, present vs memory), not because of the ‘wrestling’ moves, but because of the non-ring action of a match — the chairs, the 2×4’s, the staple guns… His real suffering is on the outside where he can’t ‘act’ and it largely exceeds his capacity to cope.
The relationship with the female lead, Marisa Tomei, who plays a stripper is somewhat undeveloped. She is the stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold. Randy’s affability serves as the crack that forms across her two lives (stripping vs mother/relationship potential).