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Million Dollar Baby (2004)

2004

PG-13 CC

"I DON'T TRAIN GIRLS", trainer Frankie Dunn growls. But something's different about the spirited boxing hopeful who shows up daily at Dunn's gym. All she wants is a fighting chance.

Starring:
Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank
Runtime:
2 hours, 12 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Sports, Drama
Director Clint Eastwood
Starring Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank
Supporting actors Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brían F. O'Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome, Michael Peña, Benito Martinez, Bruce MacVittie, David Powledge, Joe D'Angerio, Marcus Chait, Tom McCleister, Erica Grant, Naveen, Morgan Eastwood
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.A. VINE VOICE on December 25, 2004
Hillary Swank (Margaret Fitzgerald), who proved her athleticism in her first major role, The Next Karate Kid, demonstrated it again, pummeling a heavy bag with a power left on which I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. She's very convincing in this movie - both as a young woman from humble beginnings who wants to make a better life for herself, and as a boxer. In Million Dollar Baby, she returns to the visceral emotional range that left us so deeply moved in Boy's Don't Cry.

Clint Eastwood (Frankie Dunn), who has proved himself repeatedly, has perhaps turned in the best performance of his career. At times irascible, intellectual, mournful, instructive, reflective, passionate - in every manifestation, he reaches you. He was brilliant.

And Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman. As the narrator of the story, and an actor within it, he lends a soft-spoken touch that ameliorates some of the film's darker elements. He also lent the film a certain amount of boxing sagacity, as he spoke in non-technical and sometimes quasi-technical terms of the basics of boxing.

This film ain't no Rocky. It has an intelligence and compassion that Rocky (and virtually every boxing film ever made, save perhaps Raging Bull) couldn't think to have. Beyond that, it actually has better fight sequences. More often than in most boxing films - certainly the very poor choreography of the Rocky fight sequences - the punches looked and felt real, or as real as "fake" can make them.

Margaret introduces herself to Frankie after a fight and asks him to train her. He turns her down flat, saying that he doesn't train girls. Given her pluckiness, she appears at his gym the next day, punching a heavy bag with all of the skill, style and fluidity of Pinocchio.
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Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is "the best cut man in the business' intones the narrator, Morgan Freeman in "Million Dollar Baby." Frankie can clean up a cut in seconds so that a fighter can get back in the ring and at the very least finish the fight and at best, win.

Yet Frankie can't heal the emotional wounds of his life even though he spends 365 days a year at Mass and writes letters to his estranged daughter every day asking for, I assume forgiveness. But the letters come back marked "Return to Sender" and Frankie files them away in a box and his life returns to the needs and wants of his Gym for Boxers and to his best friend, confidant and former fighter, Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman).

And then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into Frankie's Gym, pays her Gym dues for six months and asks Frankie every day to train her. And everyday he turns her down: "you're too old, too skinny...and you're a girl," he says.

Until one day she wears him down, he concedes to her wishes and there begins a Cinderella story of fights won, money earned and glory attained. And then it's all taken away.

Eastwood has made some great, even unforgettable films: "The Unforgiven, "Bird" to name a couple. But he has done nothing to match the guts, emotional power and poignancy of "Million Dollar Baby." And Hillary Swank, pretty much floundering after "Boys Don't Cry," is as sunny, thoughtful and real as she's ever been.

There is a scene towards the end of "MDB" between Frankie and Maggie in which Frankie explains the meaning of a Gaelic nickname that he has given Maggie that grabs at your heart and is so beautifully realized that you are galvanized with emotion. It's so real and so true to the tone of the film that you can't help but gasp.
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Comment 145 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I don't know that I could rate a movie poorly just because I didn't like how it made me feel - as one reviewer did. How is that fair when you are are reviewing something as it would likely appeal to the masses? When you are rating story line, acting, directing, etc, etc.?
So, I will say this - I was stunned with the ending and didn't like how I felt. But since this movie wasn't about 'me' or how I would feel, I wanted to appreciate all aspects of the movie and mention them.
I thought the message was good; and clear; and ones we all can (or should) relate to - which is basically seeing that people are human; and that sometimes there is a real struggle just to find their way in life. There were so many messages to be found here that discovering them is also part of the individual's own message as to what they can glean from it. It can be not only learning who you are..but also who you aren't, as Maggie did the one moment she realized that her family was definitely not her family.
I didn't like the way the movie ended and wished it had ended differently..but there was no promise of that to begin with - no 'rose garden';

Now for some critiquing: I felt like I had seen both Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in those same types of character roles before that it seemed too redundant or 'deja vu'. I think the director wanted to leave some things up to the viewer's imagination, and yet, for me anyway, it left too many questions such as what happened between Clint Eastwood and his daughter and why did it pain him so much? What was the envelope he found on the floor and why was that significant? Also, I was confused as to how Clint Eastwood felt about Hillary (Maggie). There were times when I felt he loved her like a daughter, and then other times where I wondered if it were more?
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