halle berry’s “bruised” on netflix


illustration by camryn calderwood

Netflix has been producing original movies and TV shows for almost a decade and they are not slowing down this year. One of the newest and most anticipated projects, Halle Berry’s “Bruised”  premiered on the platform Nov. 24. The film’s original air date was supposed to be mid 2020 but just as a lot of other things got delayed, “Bruised” was as well. The movie debuted as an unfinished project at the Toronto Film Festival and is now available for streaming as a completed work.

“Bruised” tells the story of Jackie Justice, an MMA fighter who is looking for redemption as she faces her own personal struggles. Justice must overcome her damaged reputation in the MMA fighting scene, an abusive relationship with her boyfriend and ex-manager and the doubts of everyone close to her. These obstacles come to a head when her son, who she gave up as an infant, suddenly re-enters her life. With that child back in her life, she once again has a reason to fight. Throughout the movie, she regains power over her narrative inside the MMA arena and outside of it, even when everyone thinks she won’t triumph. 


The movie was directed by Halle Berry, who also stars as the film’s main character. According to Entertainment Weekly, the role was originally “written for a 25-year-old Irish Catholic girl.” Berry, a 55-year-old biracial Cleveland native has made the character entirely her own and her performance is breathtaking. While Berry has produced movies in the past, “Bruised” is her first directing experience. The film also features Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lela Loren and Shamier Anderson. The movie was written by Michelle Rosenfarb, who is a first time screenwriter as well.


One of the unique storytelling elements of “Bruised” is the soundtrack. Featuring artists such as H.E.R., Saweetie, Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Young MA and more, the soundtrack is made up exclusively of women artists. As powerful female voices flood through the speakers of the television, the women empowerment theme of “Bruised” is further solidified.


The film was rated a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6/10 from IMDb. It has a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes and will be available exclusively on Netflix. Some reviewers of the movie claim that Berry made the mistake of directing and casting herself as the leading role. Furthermore, many have stated that the film’s training montages and plot structure slip into the predictable sports movie cliches. However, we think that Berry’s remarkable directorial debut and acting performance are worth a watch.

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