Million Dollar Baby Reviews

Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
February 27, 2015
The movie is simultaneously conventional and subversive, broad and nuanced, shamelessly manipulative and genuinely moving, a cheap sucker punch and a work of real moral weight.
Top Critic
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
January 10, 2014
The only differences between this new film and its many forebears are that the young hopeful is a woman and the finish is unforeseen.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
January 10, 2014
As an actor, Eastwood has rarely taken on a character as complex as Frankie Dunn.
Top Critic
February 24, 2013
It's impressive, in the sense that a sucker-punch impresses itself on your skull.
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
February 24, 2013
It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising. It's correct.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
February 24, 2013
Barely a year after the release of Mystic River, Clint Eastwood delivers a second consecutive drama that fearlessly probes the shadows of human morality without falling back on easy answers.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 24, 2013
Perhaps the director's most touching, most elegiac work yet, Million Dollar Baby is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental.
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
August 1, 2008
Like Eastwood, it's a relic that dazzles you with its footwork, daring and class.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
February 6, 2007
Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Quietly quite magnificent.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 26, 2005
Though conventional in many respects, it feels like no other boxing film ever made, due largely to Eastwood's unmistakable presence on both sides of the camera.
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 28, 2005
[A] solid boxing drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
January 15, 2005
A glorious knockout punch of a movie.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
January 13, 2005
No movie in my memory has depressed me more than Million Dollar Baby.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
January 7, 2005
The result is the kind of movie they don't make anymore -- a real crowd-pleaser.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 7, 2005
It's rare that we see a movie that gives its characters a spiritual dimension; and rarer still that the director isn't making a heavy-handed statement with it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 7, 2005
One of the many pleasures of this beautifully composed, measured movie is how it reminds you of the power of pure storytelling -- an art that's too often overlooked in contemporary films in the rush for sensation and excitement.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 7, 2005
When you think you know its moves, it throws in fancy footwork. Then it sucker-punches you when you're not looking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 7, 2005
It may be that only Spencer Tracy and Paul Newman (and can someone explain to me how Eastwood and Newman have avoided making a movie together?) aged as well and as interestingly onscreen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
January 7, 2005
It's a weeper, a fighter, a dreamer of a film that treads on ground that's been fairly trampled over the years. It should stink. Instead, it's flat-out wonderful.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 7, 2005
Eastwood takes another whack at the cliches on which his career was built. He's made a deliberately paced and surprisingly provocative movie about the toll of failure and the torments of responsibility.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 7, 2005
Confident, powerful, a thing of deceptively effortless beauty, Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby shifts its weight in the late rounds -- having seduced us with a gritty underdog tale -- and delivers a body blow.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 7, 2005
It is Clint Eastwood's autumnal masterpiece.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 6, 2005
As Maggie, Swank is a package of dynamite, a determined soul with too much to prove and too little time to do it in, to worry about defeat. Eastwood is so good in this movie, it almost feels like cheating.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 6, 2005
The new picture takes its time, gives its actors room to breathe, and isn't afraid to strike a hokey note if it reveals something important. Real life, after all, is full of hokiness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
January 6, 2005
Million Dollar Baby is one for the books. It could have gone wrong in ways that would reduce it to a series of stereotypes. But it never does.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 6, 2005
Saying this movie is about boxing is akin to saying Citizen Kane is about a sled.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 6, 2005
The picture uses the familiar boxing milieu -- the dingy gym, the late-night training sessions, the build-up to the Big Bout -- as background for a far more intimate and surprising love story between a surrogate father and a surrogate daughter.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 6, 2005
It's a story about passion and dedication to a dream. It's a story about the need to believe in yourself and what you're doing. It's a story about lost opportunities and second chances.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
December 27, 2004
The performances of the three leads are perfect, so we don't care that we don't know what lies right outside the Hit Pit.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 27, 2004
It has the gloom and transcendence of an old man's wisdom.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Charles Taylor
Salon.com
December 18, 2004
Solemn, inflated and dull.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 16, 2004
An unsettling and unforgettable masterpiece of skid-row poetry that punctures the heart.
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
December 16, 2004
A deeply knowing study of families abandoned and found, battles won and lost, dreams realized and deferred.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
December 15, 2004
As good as Unforgiven. Or, to put it another way, as good as any movie Eastwood has ever directed.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 15, 2004
A story well told about lessons well learned, and if Clint wants to keep making more like them, he should.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
December 15, 2004
Eastwood delivers a ferociously emotional tale that matches, and in some respects surpasses, the artistry of last year's Mystic River.
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 15, 2004
Eastwood scores a knockout as an actor and director with Million Dollar Baby, a spare, exquisitely realized masterpiece about faith, redemption and boxing that beautifully illustrates his longtime philosophy that 'less is more.'
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
December 15, 2004
A movie that approaches the level of great boxing films, like Raging Bull, by using sport as a metaphor for human nature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 15, 2004
Like a title bout that goes through seven rounds of friendly push and poke before exploding into a knockout combination.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
December 15, 2004
The film works on every level -- acting, direction and production -- as it tells its heartfelt story about human frailty and the power of redemption.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 15, 2004
It may be a classically staged tale of an underdog's triumph, but each scene is packed with authentic feeling.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
December 14, 2004
[An] evocative and poetic boxing movie.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
December 14, 2004
Remarkable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 14, 2004
Baby has the taut, grim, cold look of a noir out of time. It becomes a classic Eastwood movie and Frankie becomes a classic Eastwood role.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 14, 2004
Clint Eastwood's drama about a grizzled boxing trainer and a spunky young fighter is the best movie released by a major Hollywood studio this year.
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
December 14, 2004
Eastwood's point of view has been seasoned enough to locate poignancy and respect for his protagonists where you least expect -- saying it's an old man's movie is a serious compliment.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 13, 2004
Eastwood deserves another Best Picture nomination. Here's a man who has finally put Dirty Harry to rest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 10, 2004
The knockout punch comes from Eastwood. His stripped-down performance -- as powerful as anything he's ever done -- has a rugged, haunting beauty.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
December 9, 2004
Slow-burning drama of a determined female boxer and her hard-shelled trainer, a tale Eastwood invests with rewarding reserves of intimacy, tragedy, tenderness and bitter life knowledge.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
December 6, 2004
Under Eastwood's painstakingly stripped-down direction -- his filmmaking has become the cinematic equivalent of Hemingway's spare though precise prose -- the story emerges as that rarest of birds, an uplifting tragedy.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 6, 2004
Deeply involving.