Million Dollar Baby - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Million Dollar Baby Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
This impressive feat from actor/director Clint Eastwood makes for a tearful cry, which is rare in a sports dramas, and it also says a lot about a character that remains an example of complex storytelling in films. Without stressing the twists and turns of the plot, and the obvious inclination at spoiler alert, this film is easy to clarify. What I can tell you is that this film is not an average sports drama and it is a film that centers more on atonement, guilt, and the pursuit of self-preservation and dignity. The film centers on the dynamic relationship between trainer Frankie (Eastwood) and fighter in training Maggie (Swank). Frankie is still pained about his friend Eddie (Freeman) having gone in blind in one eye because he didn't call a fight in time. Frankie now trains men in the local gym that he and Eddie own, Frankie dealing with cut work in-between fights and Eddie helping out some of the weaklings, including Danger (Baruchel) who toys around with the idea of becoming a fighter. Frankie meets Maggie while she pursues him to be her trainer, and they grow a friendship that leads to mutual trust and understanding. The way Frankie deals with the injuries of boxing, getting away from his past and yet relives it at the same time, is devastating to watch. One minute everything is starting to feel positive, and the story remains uplifting for both Frankie and Maggie, and then Frankie is faced with his past yet again. Maggie, as a character, is one of the most interesting women to be put onscreen in some time. Not only does she take interest in her future, but she does something about it, and becomes friends with Frankie, eventually taking on the role of daughter, since his own won't talk to him. She has a horrible family, a stalled past, and complete ambition, besides being feisty. There's also a priest character in the film who is very interesting and works well against Frankie's hardened demeanor and moral quandaries. By the end Frankie seems to have found closure, but he has also sacrificed a part of him that will never grow anew. It's heartbreaking, and if the ending is not ruined for you already, this is definitely going to surprise you.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2007
A masterpiece, plain and simple. A total knockout of a movie right to the heart. Absolutely perfect. Unforgettable and Powerful. Brilliant, remarkable and groundbreaking. It's compelling, astonishing, deeply moving, outstanding and breathtaking. Eastwood and Freeman have never been better. They have a unique and well-developed chemistry, it's always great to see these two icons work together. Morgan Freeman is extraordinary, he gives a soft spoken and riveting performance. Clint Eastwood is passionately raw and excellent, it's definitely one of the best and most emotionally naked performances of his career. Hilary Swank is magnificent. It's probably the best performance of her career. A heart wrenching and heart breaking film. A real punch of power, humor, personal triumph and devastating emotion. It's superb drama at it's very best. A towering achievement by a top artist in top form. Every scene is shot perfectly with great style. It makes you think dreams are worth fighting for. One of the finest movies ever made. A real classic that will stand with Director, Eastwood's best films like Unforgiven and Mystic River.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2007
Eastwood's masterpiece, pure and simple, with guts and glory, respect, honor and love, and boxing (that venerable movie warhorse, trotted out again, this time with a woman as the fated underdog from nowhere), delivered humbly by Freeman, Swank and Eastwood himself.
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2007
This is one of my favourite movies, i simply adore this movie!
I've since this movie countless times and i think this is the first movie i watched that persuaded me to follow Clint Eastwoods career and try his other movies, which is one of the best decisions ive made!
Its a classic, its powerful, emotional and just simply a tearjerker!
With the talents of Eastwood mixed in with the talents of Freeman and Swank there isnt anything about this movie you Won't enjoy! Truly a phenomenal movie!
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2011
A great movie. And a sad movie. Not what you think it is. Swank is great. Eastwood is great (behind and infront of the camera) and Freeman....he does his thing. I don't know about you people out there but I was touched by this film
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2008
Beyond his silence, there is a past. Beyond her dreams, there is a feeling. Beyond hope, there is a memory. Beyond their journey, there is a love.

Saw it again! 2004 Best Picture and well worth it! Superb Film! Probably Clint Eastwood's best directing yet. My opinion is that this is Hilary Swank best performance ever so far, she did an amazing job not easy to top, I don't think there is any other actress that could have done a better job, is just hard to even imagine. Morgan Freeman did quite good as always and he also besides Eastwood and Swank won a Oscar for his astounding work.This is probably one of the best boxing movies of all-time, probably in the top 5 ever in cinema history. You better see this movie soon it's quite breathtaking and beautiful. This is in my favorite Top 20 films of All-time.

From beginning to end, there is commentary by "Scrap"- Morgan Freeman's recognizable voice.

Hillary Swank's character, Maggie, is a white trash 31 year old waitress in a diner. Clint Eastwood is Frankie, a boxing gym owner who has trained many promising fighters but has never been able to take them all the way to a title/money bout.

Maggie decides to pursue her dream of becoming a boxer once she realizes she's in a real dead end situation. Frankie is skeptical about women fighters, tells Maggie she's too old to start training, and tells her he won't train her.

Morgan Freeman's character is "Scrap", one of Frankie's ex-fighters. Frankie feels guilty because he didn't stop "Scrap" (Morgan Freeman) from fighting in his 109th fight. Scrap ignored Frankie's pleas to throw in the towel. It was in this fight, 25 years ago, that caused him to lose one eye and end his boxing career. This is how Scrap ended up being the caretaker to Frankie's boxing gym for many years. And this is why Frankie takes a "conservative" approach when training upcoming boxers. Although he's a top notch trainer; he's afraid to take them to the top where he's afraid of what comes with a loss. Thus, you see a boxer leave Frankie for a more aggressive manager.

Maggie is extremely determined to prove Frankie wrong along with the rest of her family. Scrap continues to give Maggie pointers on how to improve and get better. Frankie is still unwilling to commit to become Maggie's trainer. After much persistence, not to mention on her 32nd birthday, Maggie gets Frankie to train her.

We also see a minor back story of Frankie's estranged relationship to his daughter "Kate." We see a few shots of "return-to-sender" letters Frankie receives from his daughter. Apparently this has gone on for years. It's why Frankie goes to church everyday- out of past guilt we never actually learn specifically of.

Maggie doesn't have a father, he died when she was young.

Eventually the two come together realizing that the other can fill that void in their lives.

A year and a half of training and many knock-outs later, undefeated Maggie wants to go for a world title championship in Las Vegas. Frankie is hesitant, not wanting her to get hurt.

Maggie takes him to see her mother and sister who are very white trash and live in a trailer. Maggie surprises her mom with a new home just a mile away from their current trailer but her mom is pissed. If welfare finds out about the house she'll stop getting her checks.

On the way back they stop at a roadside diner her father used to take her to. She tells loving stories about her father. She tells him about the time he put their ailing pet dog out of his misery. By the way, Frankie loves this diner's lemon maraigne pie . He contemplates buying the diner.

Frankie finally decides that Maggie is ready for the next level. He sets up a fight against the British champion. Before entering the ring, he gives her a new fight robe with a Gaelic phrase on it. He won't tell her what it means. The crowd loves it and chants it as she enters the ring. (Important later) Maggie wins the fight which sets up a championship bout.

In the championship fight, Maggie boxes against the current middle weight championship title holder. She is not only aggressive and tough but also fights dirty. During the first two rounds she pounds on Maggie while taking a couple of penalty points for two foul punches. The referee warns her that next time she will be disqualified. The next couple of rounds Maggie takes a different approach, advised by Frankie, and starts to break ground. She clearly is winning the fight and the crowd goes crazy. She goes back in and after a few punches and almost-a-knock-out later, her opponent struggles to her feet after 9 counts. The referee sends them back to their corner. Maggie turns her back and before she can reach her corner her opponent moves toward her while the referee isn't looking. She takes a deadly shot at the side of Maggie and sends her landing on her head on the corner stool, breaking her neck. Maggie suffers spinal neck injury that leaves her paralyzed for life.

The last 1/4 of the movie is about euthanasia and human morals. Maggie is bed ridden for a long time and eventually has to have her leg amputated due to muscle atrophy and bed sores.

Maggie's family arrives (but first spend a week at Disneyland) and try to get her to sign a power of attorney type document. Frankie is skeptical but they tell him to mind his own business. He leaves, disgusted at them. Maggie tells them to leave and that she never wants to see them again.

She asks Frankie for a favor. She asks if he remembers the story she told him about her father and their dog. She no longer wants to live. She had her shot and wants to die remembering the crowd cheering her name. Frankie refuses.

Later Frankie is awoken in the middle of the night. Maggie has bitten her tongue, hoping to bleed to death. The doctors save her and stitch her tongue back up. She rips the stitches out and tries it again. This time they cover her tongue so she can't get to it.

Frankie now realizes how badly she wants to die and contemplates "slowly killing" her by letting her live or end her life while she is "living." Scrap tells him that most people die wondering "what if" and never having a chance at anything. He tells him that at least Maggie had her shot of a lifetime and is thinking "maybe I did alright."

Frankie decides to fulfill her wishes and end her life. He walks into her room, unnoticed. He tells her what he's going to do and she can only smile. He tells her that the Gaelic phrase the crowds were chanting and on her robe meant "My Darling". He removes her breathing tube and injects her with adrenaline. She dies instantly.

In the end of the movie we see Scrap writing a letter (to Frankies daughter) and we realize that the narration all along is this letter. He ends it along the lines of "...He never returned to the gym and I never saw him again. I'm sure he's somewhere between here and there but where ever he is, I'm sure he's doing just fine. I just wanted to let you know what kind of man Frankie was. I wanted to let you know what your father was like."

The final shot is of Frankie eating pie at the diner that Maggie had taken him to. It is presumed he retired from running the gym and bought the diner, as he told Maggie he might like to do someday.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2011
Although in a different league to the conventional sports flicks, it occasionally muddles through some age-old-cliches and tear-jerking melodrama. Still, Eastwood's storytelling and top-notch performances, above all else, makes it a compelling watch.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
I agree when people say that this film was overhyped. At times you found yourself drifting away but you can't deny that Hilary Swank deserved her Academy Award for the portrayal of her character and Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood were also nothing short of outstanding. If you haven't read the book, which when I watched this film I hadn't, you will be completely thrown off at how it ends. Completely don't expect that to happen and it does tear at your heatrstrings. Jay Baruchel played a hilarious role and I think it's his best film so far. You'd be wrong to judge this without watching it, which I did. I thought it would mainly be about boxing and how she became a champion, not like that at all. Shocking twist and incredibly poignant.
shahmeer h.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2011
I know most of my reviews consist of 10/10, but that's because I think lots of movies are excellent. And so is this one. By all means, one of the best films I have ever seen. Million Dollar Baby is more than just a film about boxing, it's about believing, never-giving-up, and the harsh reality of life. And truly, life. Is hard. The film has so many memorable moments. The acting, the directing, the story is all spectacular. Ive never seen a film like this. Million Dollar Baby is about a boxing trainer and manager, Frankie (Eastwood). A woman, Margaret Fitzgerald (Swank), wants him to train her. Frankie claims he can't train her, but as she grows in potential and determination, he starts to. The story follows Maggie and Frankie as they try to fulfill their dreams, and show the world that they believe. Unlike no other film I have ever seen, the acting in th Is film is just riveting. Clint Eastwood deserved an Academy win, not a nomination. His acting was just moving and amazing throughout. He wasn't a lovable character, but Clint showed his character had a heart and was memorable all the same. Hillary Swank was outstanding, deserving her Oscar. Morgan Freeman is always a man to love. His comedic, nonchalant acting in this was stupendous. No wonder people always say he should get an Oscar for every film he does. The directing from Clint Eastwood was great, too. He always knows how to make a movie the right way. He should be directing all the intelligent and moving films out there, and then Hollywood would be even better than it is now. In the end, the movie is all about believing, which is risking it all for a dream that nobody sees...but you.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2011
One the greatest and most dramatic films I have ever seen. Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swan, and Morgan Freeman lead possible the best cast of actors in a film I have ever seen, I mean how many films get nominated for all those Oscars in Acting and win most, not many thats for sure but this film did. The story is about a old boxing coach who runs a gym, when his main boxer leaves him he is left with only his friend (Morgan Freeman) and his gym. A woman (Hillary Swank) wants to get his training and is a big fan, but he refuses to coach her for being a girl. But after seeing her determination and work, he decides to train her. But their realationship becomes stronger and is put to the ultimate test. Such an amazing film and cast make this the best boxing movie since Rocky and Raging Bull.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2011
Grade: A+ (100%)

Boxing movies are simple but inspirational. Every boxing movie has an underdog fighting for the title of champion of the ring. I could make a list of how many of these movies follow this guideline. But Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby takes the underdog portion of the cliche and creates something masterful. Maggie Fitzgerald (played by Hilary Swank in her Oscar winning role) is a waitress who wants to be number one in the ring. After a fight, she waits in the hallway for Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood in one of his best performances as an actor) and asks him to be her trainer. "I don't train girls" and "Tough ain't enough" stops Maggie for pursuing him. The next day, Maggie shows up at the Hit Pit Gymnasium which is owned by Frank and his long time friend and ex-boxer Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman in his Oscar winning role). A couple of insults from Frankie and a couple of stories of her past leads to Frankie training Maggie and later becomes her manager.

Now this is the part of the movie everyone can predict: we see Maggie train, becoming fit and strong, we see her boxing movements improve and we see a couple of fights that leads to her winning by knockout. This part of Million Dollar Baby is a cliche; however, this is also one of the movie's strengths. The boxing scenes shows Maggie able to take any opponent and knock the person out in the first round (if she wanted to). Clint Eastwood shows dangerous and sometimes bloody injuries that happen to Maggie in her fights. One is a graphic scene where Maggie breaks her nose and Frankie puts it back in and makes her suck up her blood from her nose back into the body - pretty graphic stuff. Yes, this is what we know about boxing movies.

The second part of the movie is all Eastwood's imagination and quite frankly one of the most depressing endings ever made. This part of the movie I can't talk about because I would literally spoil the movie for you. All I can say is: if you have a negative response about the final minutes of the film, you should never watch another film again. All I can ask you is this: What would you do?

Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece. It has great direction by Mr. Eastwood (winning Best Director for this film) and fantastic performances by Mr. Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Hilary Swank is astounding as Maggie, a woman with a f***ed up family and a dream to be the best. Morgan Freeman finally wins his Oscar as Eddie, a one eyed janitor of his home/gymnasium. He also narrates the film and also knocks someone out with a couple of punches (this proves that Mr. Freeman is a badass). Clint Eastwood's (nominated for Best Actor) performance in this film is amazing. Most of us know Clint as a cop, a gunslinger or an old timer with a rifle and we all know that isn't a guy to mess with. In this film, Clint shocked me. He played someone different - a man with a love for boxing. Mr. Eastwood reveals his emotions on screen. There is one scene where Frankie comes home and receives a returned letter from his daughter. Frankie gets teary-eye - pure acting and pure amazement from Mr. Eastwood. I never seen Clint Eastwood like this especially in the last half of the movie.

Million Dollar Baby is amazing - plain and simple. Clint Eastwood directs his masterpiece in film making. Strong performances, tearjerking story, amazing score (also by Clint Eastwood), and excellent performances from the three main actors, Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is emotional, entertaining, but above all masterful.

Million Dollar Baby was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won 4
Best Picture (Clint Eastwood)
Best Director (Clint Eastwood)
Best Actress (Hilary Swank)
Best Supporting-Actor (Morgan Freeman)
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2011
The marketing of "Million Dollar Baby" leads you to believe that the film about to unfold is the inspirational tale of a female Rocky and that description does this remarkable film very little justice. "Baby" is Eastwood's most sentimentally-driven film with raw displays of emotion that punches you right in the heart.

Young Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks into a boxing training facility run by crabby Frankie Dunn (Eastwood). She pesters him long enough to get him to train her so that she can pursue her dream of becoming a female boxer and eventually he agrees. This partnership not only borns an incredible boxing champion but it creates a father/daughter bond that is central to the film's success.

Eastwood masterfully shifts gears - going from real humor to riotous action to heart-tugging emotion - with ease. Swank is outstanding as Maggie Fitzgerald playing her with a tough innocence that makes her easy to root for and understand and Morgan Freeman doesn't disappoint.

Be prepared to go an emotional roller coaster with "Million Dollar Baby"; you'll walk out of the theater shaken and emotionally stirred.
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2010
A brilliant masterpiece! For me, this is one of the best films of the decade. This is the film that Clint Eastwood will be remembered for. Such a great, touching story. Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman are simply stunning!
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2010
Clint Eastwood has had an incredible career. I mean from staring in the badest and boldest Westerns of the 60's to playing a cop with an attitude, the guy is a legend. His career as a director has been equally impressive. Million Dollar Baby is a terrific film. The film tells the story of a determined female boxer who wants to be a professional boxer, she seeks help from trainer Frankie Dunn, played as usual with finesse by director Clint Eastwood. Eastwood has crafted a fine film and has assembled a great cast of actors, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel and Eastwood himself, do I need to go on? Million Dollar Baby is an inspiring film, thats both equally sad and uplifting. Hilary Swank is terrific in her role and gives a great performance, this is one of her finest performances yet. The film doesn't follow the Rocky formula as some have come to believe, instead the film tell a totally different story, and ends up being truly incredible. The only reason that this film gets the rating it gets is because I found they where a few things about the film that I didn't like, the ending, and the fact that Danger Barch(Jay Baruchel) gets treated the way he does because he obviously is mentally challenged. One scene gets coaxed by others at the boxing club to fight, and I didn't really like to see it. But nonetheless it's a very good film worth watching, and because Clint Eastwood made it, you know you're in for a quality film.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
This is a sports movie, but it really isn't. Or, it is a sports movie, but it doesn't have the conventional trappings of the genre, and it isn't just "Rocky", but with a woman. I think I saw an interviw where Eastwood said it was a love story, and I think's that's more fitting. Not a conventional one, but yeah, still a love story. It's also fits in nicely with Eastwood's penchant for making films with the themes of violence, the consequences of violence, guilt, loss, regret, and issues of faith.

It's definitely a coming of age story, but it's far from being light and fluffy. In fact, this movie is depressing as all hell. It's hard to look away though, It's really gripping, and is never boring. You care about the characters, their struggles, and hope for things to work out.

The performances are just brilliant. It's no surprise this won multiple awards, especially for acting. Swank is definitely one of those actresses that I should formally declare as one fo my favorites. Not sure why I haven't done that yet. One thing I like about her is that she's a method actress, and, even though she's not the only one (Streep and Winslet are others), you mainly just hear about men when you hear the term "method acting". She's amazing though. Just her dedication to get into character is impressive. Eastwood undoubtedly gives the best performance of the last 15 years of his career. He would be good a few years after this in "Gran Torino", but this is better. Freeman is also excellent as the broken but loyal compainion.

I like that they make reference to my part of the world (Theodosia, MO is relatively close to me), even if they didn't actually film there. The camera work is good, the editing is good, the music is haunting, and it's really diffiuclt not to becoming emotional wrecked by this film as the end credits roll.

This is some powerful stuff that manages to avoid cheesiness and sentimentality, yet isn't a cold beast either. It may seem like Oscar bait, which it is and was, but in a postivie way- if that maes any sense.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2007
There are a very few movies that I like as much as this one, and only a handful that I like more. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. This movie forms a connection between the characters and the audience in a way that makes you completely forget that you're watching a movie. That's the highest compliment that I can give.You don't have to be a fan of boxing to enjoy Million Dollar Baby. Heck, boxing is one of the few sports that I don't really care for. But if you have a heart, even a tough manly steel heart, you will love this movie.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
A powerful, although flawed film. The acting all around is phenomenal, and the maturation of Eastwood's closed-off character is something special only Clint could pull off so effortlessly. The ending is without a doubt controversial, but it takes guts to go the direction this movie ultimately decided to take. Very depressing, not an easy view, and sometimes too bleak, but ultimately a solid movie.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2006
Best film of 2004, a masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2006
Clint Eastwood plays a boxing trainer who takes a young woman under his wing and helps make her dream of fighting for the title come true. Million Dollar Baby is not your usual sports melodrama. Although it unashamedly tugs at the heart strings, it does so through well rounded, sympathetic characters and sensitive performances rather than cynical manipulation and empty schmaltz. There is a lot of warmth and humour in the relationship between crotchety old men Eastwood and Freeman, who know each other too well to be bound by the usual social conventions, and Swank makes a fine fist of a young woman who is told she is past her prime but too desperate to escape her trailer trash roots to give up (when you see her family, it is impossible not to root for her all the more). Guilty of sentimentality, yes, but it is done with sincerity and heart and next to Raging Bull, is probably the second best boxing movie ever made.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
Not just another boxing movie, it's a truly amazing story of determination. The performances are all incredible, not one person in the movie gave a lackluster effort. The plot is extremely well executed and done on an emotional level. Clint Eastwood has really attained a great sense of style over the years and become an amazing director.
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