Million Dollar Baby Reviews
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.