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We just watched a movie that really caught my attention with the parallel themes, shadow meanings and emotional depth. I cried, I laughed and most of all, I cheered. The essence of the human spirit, embodied in a surprising form – captured my heart, expanded it, then turned it loose to expand and grow. What was this surprising thing?

A robot.

I am not a big fan of action adventure movies (unless there is a great love story that goes with it). In my family, we usually take turns who gets to pick the movie (guess which genre my husband likes). Anyway, tonight we were both happy with his choice.

On the surface, Real Steel is an action adventure movie about fighting robots. Hugh Jackman plays a washed up boxer named Charlie, who is basically a grifter…someone who hustles other people for money. Charlie has fallen on hard times, and everyone hounding him for money owed.

After losing his robot in a match, Charlie hits rock bottom. Until he learns that his ex-wife has died, leaving him as the sole surviving parent of Max, his eleven year old son whom he hasn’t seen in the same amount of years. Charlie works a deal with the rich husband of his ex-sister-in-law to keep Max for the summer in exchange for the only thing that is important to him — money.

Suffice it to say that the tables get turned on Charlie. The screen chemistry between Charlie and Max is wonderful, believable and touching. Both are beaten souls, who find common ground in the boxing robot world. Forgiveness and healing are shared equally. By the climax of the movie, you are cheering more for their relationship than you do for their robot.

The transformation of the characters, the healing of past hurt and pain, and the triumph of the human spirit make Real Steel the real deal. There is some language that may not be appropriate for children under 13 (it is rated PG-13), but the message is very clear.

Fight for what you believe in and don’t give up on the ones you love.

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