Anthony's Film Review
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
A boxing drama that is not about the sport, but about human relationships...
Million Dollar Baby starts out as your typical sports movie surrounding the trainer-trainee relationship. Clint Eastwood is Frankie Dunn, a former boxer who works as a trainer at a gym. He meets Maggie Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank, who is a waitress with high hopes of becoming a boxer to leave her meaningless past behind. There is tension immediately when the two first meet. She really wants to learn to fight, but he really doesn't want to teach a girl. However, she keeps trying to get his attention until he does.
Morgan Freeman also appears in the film as Eddie Dupris, another former fighter working in the same gym as Frankie. He is the one who believes in Maggie before Frankie does the same. He also functions as the narrating voice-over, as if he can see all that happens. This character, along with Frankie and Maggie, form the main cast whose interactions are the center of the story. Between Frankie and Eddie, there are some differences between the two friends. Between Eddie and Maggie, there is immediate friendship. And between Frankie and Maggie, there is a hardened teacher-student relationship that slowly grows into something like love between a father and his daughter.
With much determination, Maggie quickly grows into a boxer loved by the fans and feared by her opponents. At one point, she becomes too good when she easily beats her opponents in the first round. For Frankie, he begins to see the strength in the girl whom he thought was impossible to train. It is not long before the film reaches the last half hour, when the story's saddening climax breaks our hearts and really makes us think.
As a film that is about relationships, it is no surprise that it is a relatively low-budget film shot in only 38 days. One thing it does nicely is downplay the lighting in some scenes, particularly the ones in the gym after hours. There is a somber feel to the film when dialogue between Frankie, Maggie, and Eddie is done with darkness partially covering them. The film also deserves high marks for a well-written script. It slowly engages the audience in the scenes instead of rushing through the story.
I thought Million Dollar Baby was a pretty good film and am not arguing about it winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. The cast is great along with everyone else who worked on the film. I think the movie is another one of Clint Eastwood's finest works as a director. With its emotional look at its memorable characters, it is surely a million dollar baby.
For more information about Million Dollar Baby, visit the Internet Movie Database.