Warrior makes me cry every single time that I watch it. It’s because of this realization that I have about the brothers. It’s that instant kick in the gut that I feel when I see the camera pan from older brother Brendan to the younger brother Tommy. If you’re an older sibling, or the oldest like me, then you know. You know that the one job you have growing up is watching after and protecting your brothers and sisters. My mom always says that as the oldest I need to set the example, and I would always remember thinking how stupid that was. But now, I get it.
Brendan is the nightmare scenario of what I could’ve been to my younger siblings. He wasn’t there for Tommy, he never protected him, and in the end, he left him. And now here he is, doing the one thing that siblings, especially older siblings, should never do. And that’s hurting their younger brother or sister. Climbing over them instead of helping them. Breaking them instead of rebuilding them.
It breaks me every time, because I recognize that emotion in Brendan’s face when he finishes the fight. I weep when he admits that he’s sorry, because he knows that he’s defying his very nature in hurting his little brother.
Warrior works because it addresses broken people and openly commentates on what it means to be a sibling. The ending shot is so powerful, so raw, because it rebuilds the natural order of what siblings are: Moral anchors, shelters and constant supporters.