A uniqueness exists within the human spirit; it can either drive us toward greatness or, in the case of Bobby Moretti, into a pit of hell. However, it is what we choose to do within these two walls that define us, that causes us to learn, to grow, to form relationships, or even, to regrow relationships, a central thesis surrounding the walls of Bobcat Moretti, now in a limited number of theaters and available on Video on Demand.

Refereeing in Bobby Moretti’s ring is writer-director Rob Margolies, an acclaimed award-winning director in his own right. Margolies’ direction delivers some of the best right- and left hooks of the year as Bobby Moretti (Tim Realbuto) comes to terms with his own demons, fueled by a life of pain driven by his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Pained by the tragedies of his past, Moretti can’t see his future, pained by his present.

Realbuto, a stage actor by trade, feeds into the dramas that Margolies creates for the character. There is an authenticity to the characters’ trauma we feel because we’ve been in his shoes. We’ve been in the emotional ring, fighting to find the best parts of ourselves, to improve ourselves. It’s that human spirit reclaiming itself.

We can’t do it alone, though. It takes inspiration from someone who’s gone through their own trials and tribulations. Vivica A. Fox plays Jo, a tough-as-nails boxing club owner, to peel back the emotional layers that Moretti has heaped upon himself; to get him to see the better parts of himself.

To simply try.

And simply by trying, Moretti, who doesn’t believe in himself, and apologizes for simply existing, learns to stand up for himself and others. Realbuto and Margolies worked with a team of professionals between shooting segments to transform Realbuto into a fighting machine that I certainly wouldn’t like to tangle with.

Bobcat Moretti does an excellent job of reaching through the screen to get you to stop and take stock of your life. The story by Margolies and Realbuto plays to the boxing film tropes that we’ve seen repeatedly in other films of its ilk. What Margolies and Realbuto manage to do is unique and special – it taps into our subconscious. It allows us to root for Bobcat Moretti’s determination and ascension toward greatness, not by showing a character’s downfall and uprising but by grounding the characters in the harsh realities of life.

Although the screenplay is original and not based on a true story, Bobcat Moretti is based in fact.

The feelings of sympathy for Bobcat’s MS diagnosis melt away, owing in part to the script, but in large part in tribute to Realbuto’s and Fox’s performances and Margolies’ direction; the story is focused on reclaiming oneself, it makes the experience that the challenges Bobcat faces and the solutions that present themselves relatable. Margolies peppers the story with the physical effects of MS on Moretti, and it is not uncommon for a boxer to fight in the ring post-diagnosis.

Realbuto and Fox are the film’s core and their performances are first-rate, exemplified through an exchange as the story transitions between the second and third acts, feeding off of each other in a strong, dramatic fashion; however, they are not the only facets of the movie that make it work as well as it does.

Bobcat Moretti boasts a strong supporting cast, including Taryn Manning, Matt Peters, Sally Kirkland, Jay Hieron, Matt McCoy, and Mindy Sterling. The film’s two MVPs are Sheira Irving’s Lacey Harris and Louis Mustillo’s Carmine. Both characters orbit Bobcat, and while each of the supporting cast members are constant reminders of his past, Lacey, also known as Boots in the ring, and Carmine indicate a potential future for Bobcat.

Bobcat Moretti is dynamic, raw, and real within its reality, harkening back to Rocky. And, although you feel it, you don’t realize just how much the film puts you into the ring against your own opponents. Margolies reminds us that we need to take life one day at a time and that nothing is ever guaranteed. Realbuto is living proof of that concept.

Bobcat Moretti is highly recommended.


Bobcat Moretti

Directed by Rob Margolies

Written by Rob Margolies and Tim Realbuto

Starring Tim Realbuto, Vivica A. Fox, Taryn Manning, Matt Peters, Sally Kirkland, Jay Hieron, Coolio, Matt McCoy, Mindy Sterling, Sheria Irving, Louis Mustillo



R, 96 mins, Different Duck Films