Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Paul Haggis (screenplay), F.X. Toole (stories)
Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman
A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.
I was never a fan of happy endings. I never truly believed in them. So when I watched Million Dollar Baby, I had mixed feelings. On one had I was touched by the powerful emotions, but one the other hand I loved the darker tone. One that didn’t have happy ending.
This is the story of Maggie, a poor waitress who shows up one day at run down gym in Los Angeles, hoping to start a career in boxing. The owner, Frankie, doesn’t want to help her, considering that she is too old. After proving to Frankie her desire and persistence, Maggie begins training as a boxer. Winning fight after fight, she takes a shot at the world championship where her opponent hits her after the gong. Falling and hitting a chair, Maggie gets becomes paralyzed from the neck down. From that moment, both Maggie and Frankie must learn to accept to live with themselves. Also, Frankie must learn to live with his greatest challenge. To help Maggie die…
Not sure if it is the best to come out of actor/director Clint Eastwood. But it is up there. A flawless, perfect picture about a simple girl who strives to become something greater. Hillary Swank delivers her greatest performance, stealing the show with her ambition and will to succeed. Besides directing, Eastwood plays the grumpy old man, full of regret and misery. Although broken, he finds it within himself to help someone in need. And in the end he must live with his decision.
In the end, this picture is a triumph of simplicity. No fancy story, no special effects. Just a story about a girl with ambition. And maybe one of the best sports drama of all time.