Monday, May 09, 2005

Discount View at the Movies: Million Dollar Baby

I know I'm really late, but I finally saw Million Dollar Baby at the $2.50 movie near my house. This film won Clint Eastwood Best Director and gave Hillary Swank her second Best Actress Oscar. It is a very interesting story. Eastwood is a former cut man, which is a person that tends to a boxer's wounds between rounds. He has become a trainer and one of his former fighters who he used to work with, Morgan Freeman, manages the gym. Eastwood tends to hold his fighters back, sometimes to their detriment. One fighter who felt he was being held back, leaves him. Around this time, a thirty-one year old woman from the trailer park (Swank) begins popping up at Eastwood's gym. She pays for six month's membership in advance. Eastwood is very resistant. Morgan Freeman has pity on her and begins giving her some pointers. She continues to pester Eastwood until he finally agrees to train her. He tells her not to expect much, because she is starting very late. Swank and Eastwood train frequently, and they develop a bond. Swank becomes a contender, even earning a title shot. Without giving anything away, their relationship becomes stronger and is tested inside the ring and outside of the ring. Boxing soon gives way to real life matters in a stunning portrayal or loyalty and devotion. Hillary Swank is very believable as the tomboy "white trash" waitress who dreams of something bigger. Eastwood is his usual grumpy, old self, but as usual, he pulls it off and makes the character believable through his flaws and vulnerabilties. Morgan Freeman's character is Eastwood's conscience and we also learn that Eastwood feels partially responsible for Freeman's boxing-related injury. There are other characters in the gym: A cocky, young boxer (brilliantly portrayed by Eight Mile's Anthony Mackie) and a slightly mentally deficient guy who dreams of beating Tommy Hearns (who's already retired) that they call Danger Barch. Million Dollar Baby
is a brilliant work, a classic example of following your dreams despite what logic tells you and the trials that only serve to strengthen the bonds of true friendship. I reccomend this movie, and I give it 4.5 boxing gloves. Be easy.


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