Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan
RunTime: 2 hrs 17 mins
Released By: Shaw
17 February 2005
Dunn (CLINT EASTWOOD) has trained and managed some incredible
fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important
lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules his life:
above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful
estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling
to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His
only friend is Scrap (MORGAN FREEMAN), an ex-boxer who looks
after Frankie’s gym and knows that beneath his gruff
exterior is a man who has attended Mass almost every day for
the past 23 years, seeking the forgiveness that somehow continues
to elude him.
Then Maggie Fitzgerald (HILARY SWANK) walks into his gym.
Maggie’s never had much, but there is one thing she
does have that very few people in this world ever do: she
knows what she wants and she’s willing to do whatever
it takes to get it. In a life of constant struggle, Maggie’s
gotten herself this far on raw talent, unshakable focus and
a tremendous force of will. But more than anything, what she
wants is for someone to believe in her.
The last thing Frankie needs is that kind of responsibility
– let alone that kind of risk. He tells Maggie the blunt
hard truth: she’s too old and he doesn’t train
girls. But ‘no’ has little meaning when you have
no other choice. Unwilling or unable to give up on her life’s
ambition, Maggie wears herself to the bone at the gym every
day, encouraged only by Scrap. Finally won over by Maggie’s
sheer determination, Frankie begrudgingly agrees to take her
In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come
to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends
the pain and loss of their pasts, and find in each other a
sense of family they lost long ago. What they don’t
know is that soon they will both face a battle that’s
going to demand more heart and courage than any they’ve
how long it took to film “Million Dollars Baby”?
took just 38 days to film this movie and it does not feature
any grand scale epic or luxurious costumes but it has become
a strong contender in the running for 7 major awards nomination
for this coming Oscar. AND there are at least 3 good reasons
for that: Hilary, Morgan and Clint.
three Oscar winners are back at doing what they do best: giving
a convincing performance to entrap the viewers’ attention.
Viewers might even notice resemblances of these three actors’
past characters roles in Million Dollars Baby.
to her previous film, The Next Karate Kid, Hilary Swank plays
the role of Maggie Fitzgerald, a wannabe boxer that wants
to be trained under Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) despite
being turned down for a number of reasons, especially since
Maggie had already passed the prime age for a boxer’s
training. Persistent with determination and with a little
help from Scrap (Morgan Freeman), the gym caretaker, she finally
manages to get Frankie to train her and was on route to a
hard not to be swept away by Hilary’s almost naïve
notion of getting what she wants through her fierce determination.
Irregardless of whether it was in the boxing rings or facing
what life throws in Maggie’s way, her performance would
draw out the viewers’ emotions in as subtle a manner
as possible, many times without the viewer’s notice.
Freeman provides the narration throughout the film, much like
what he did for the film Shawshank Redemption and Se7en. He
played Frankie Dunn’s old pal and as the gym caretaker,
he bears witness to the miracle evolving in a grubby surrounding.
As usual, he plays the wise guy who sees the big picture,
explaining and clarifying whether they need it or not.
Eastwood did almost everything here in Million Dollars Baby
as he had in a number of films. From acting in front of the
screen, to directing behind the screen to creating the soundtrack
of this film, it’s amazing that even while undertaking
so many tasks, he is still able to capture the essence of
a great film and drawing the very best from his actors.
his selection of the supporting cast is memorable as they
contribute the subplots to keep the main movie going. Characters
such as “Danger” Barch who keeps training at the
gym although he is not physically and mentally right for boxing,
the parish that Frankie Dunn irritates every Sunday at church
and even the prostitute-turned-boxer who fights dirty in the
three stars gave a creditable performance to the characters
they portray. Without them, the storyline and premise of Million
Dollars Baby could have been a straight to TV or video production.
At the end of the film, viewers will probably require some
time for reflection and contemplation on life and its purpose.
Million Dollars Baby should be a knockout with most viewers
and definitely a worthy follow up to Mystic Rivers, if not
Review by Richard Lim Jr