The Fighter is a Virgin
Micky dreams of being a professional fighter some day, even though his handlers only see him as Dickey’s little brother. They even spell his name Mickey on his boxing robe, symbolizing that Micky is seen as a version of Dickey. Micky meekly objects.
Actually, for most of the film Micky buys into the idea that his brother is king and he needs him. This is his Price of Conformity.
It feels like we are on the outside of his story, just like he is. Micky is just going along with life, no real sense of who he is separate from the circus that is his family. Even the scenes with his girlfriend we are outside watching and hearing very little open-hearted dialog between them.
His manager- mother and drug-addict-trainer, Dickey, are imposing their inner drives all over the screen. It feels like a disaster about to happen, like an impending train wreck, and you can’t tear your eyeballs away.
Until the moment in the ring when Micky’s brother returns from drying out in prison, and his new team pressures Micky to tell Dickey he is not welcome.
Then Micky does an unexpected thing. Everyone is pushing Mickey to agree with them (Caught Shining) and he opens up and tells them what he really thinks. He wants his mother to let him be the center now, not always thinking about what’s good for Dickey. He wants Dickey to be on his training team and not screw it up. He wants his girlfriend and his other trainer to put their personal dislikes aside and do what is best for him (Chooses his Light).
This is a wonderful moment because sometimes it really is about you. There are times when it is okay to ask everyone to love you unconditionally and in the way that you need to be loved. The important thing is Micky asked for what he dreamed of. He didn’t storm out or evil-ize anyone. In his journey to bring his best self to life and not be a stepping stone in someone else’s career, he just opened his heart and asked for what he needed. Micky gave up the idol worship of his brother to make room for a healthier relationship (Gives Up What Kept Him Stuck).
Another great moment in the film is when Dickey rises to the call and grows up. He transforms before our eyes into the Lover King, able to set aside his ego and use his power for the benefit of another. He becomes an admirable man.