Million Dollar Baby (2004)
‘Million Dollar Baby’
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.
Despondent over a painful estrangement from his daughter, trainer Frankie Dunn isn’t prepared for boxer Maggie Fitzgerald to enter his life. But Maggie’s determined to go pro and to convince Dunn and his cohort to help her.
Release date: 2004-12-14
Run time: 132 minute / 2:12
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Paul Haggis
Production Companies : Lakeshore Entertainment, Malpaso Productions, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Warner Bros., Albert S. Ruddy Productions
Production Country: United States of America
Nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 7 Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Million Dollar Baby opened to widespread critical acclaim and excellent audience reviews. Director Clint Eastwood, whose career spans multiple decades in Hollywood, creates perhaps his greatest film to date, and co-stars Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry) light up the screen with their deft character portrayals and unique charisma. Combining all the inspiration of Rocky with all the drama of a Greek tragedy, Million Dollar Baby is well-deserved of its Best Picture victory (despite the many protests of competing directors who think Eastwood won based on nostalgia for his heralded career and his personal likeability)…
Million Dollar Baby focuses on tough-skinned boxing manager Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), proprietor of a local training gym who has long been estranged from his lone daughter and seems to have only one friend of note – Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris (Morgan Freeman). Eddie lives in and helps manage the gym, and he was once one of Frankie’s fighters. With Big Willie Little (Mike Colter, who once appeared in ER) under Frankie’s management, the gym hosts the daily workouts of a legitimate heavyweight title contender. But Frankie’s reluctance to move Big Willie along prompts him to switch to a less conservative manager, and Frankie must watch his years of hard work pay off for someone else. Meanwhile, 30-something Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) has scraped together the pennies and nickels necessary to train at the gym on a daily basis. Despite Frankie’s advice to quit making a fool of herself, she borrows equipment from Eddie and works out until all hours of the night…
With Big Willie out of the picture, Frankie finally confronts Maggie and agrees to train her. Over time, the two develop a close relationship akin to father/daughter. Maggie rises in the ranks of the female circuit until she reaches the title fight where a cheap sucker punch leads to tragic consequences… With emotional depth and colorful characters, Million Dollar Baby brings one of the most controversial issues of modern society into the forefront for an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the conflict and struggle experienced by trauma victims and their loved ones. Hilary Swank’s Oscar winning performance is on full display, and Morgan Freeman is his usual mesmerizing presence…
In the end, Million Dollar Baby beat out a number of excellent films in order to claim the Oscar for Best Picture – Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways, and The Aviator (which prompted director Martin Scorsese to flee the awards ceremony in a huff). A case could be made for each of these fine films, but needless to say, Million Dollar Baby’s victory is highly indicative of the film’s enduring value. Each of the main characters comes across as likeable, the relationships as believable, and the storyline as inspirational and stirring. Million Dollar Baby is one of those rare films that stays in your head for hours on end long after you’ve walked out of the theater. Its subject matter is serious fodder for debate, and few viewers will fail to develop a strong emotional connection to Eastwood, Swank, and Freeman as they spring to life on the big screen. Quite simply, Million Dollar Baby is one of the best films of the decade and one you won’t want to miss…