Million Dollar Baby (2004).

A sports movie about a Missouri waitress, Maggie Fitzgerald, who is trained to be the best by Frankie Dunn, a boxing trainer.

Narrated by Eddie (Morgan Freeman), a half-blind former boxer, the story unfolds as Maggie learns to fight under Frankie’s tutelage. I found myself warming to Hilary Swank when she played the role of Maggie, just because she was so believable. The scene when Maggie buys a house for her mother only to have to deal with her mother’s ungrateful belligerence was so heartbreaking.

This is not like any other sports movie that I know of. My experience of the sports genre is very limited, but they usually culminate in a fantastic realization or victory. Million Dollar however, is not like this at all. For one thing, it is incredibly depressing and there is no realization; no victory.

I’ve already mentioned Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. There is also Clint Eastwood, who plays Frankie. His character developed over the film’s duration and the reticent boxing coach becomes more than that. Morgan Freeman’s voiceover adds to the film, and makes it something remarkable. Few films have the ability to break your heart over and over. This movie is an exception.

MY RATING: 4 / 5.


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