Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

2004 PG-13 132 Minutes


Despondent over a painful estrangement from his daughter, trainer Frankie Dunn isn't prepared for boxer Maggie Fitzgerald to enter his life. But Maggie's determined to go pro and to convince Dunn a...

Overall Rating

9 / 10
Verdict: Great

User Review

  • Million Dollar Baby might seem like a formulaic sports film, but its core is full of emotion. Sweet Jesus this was depressing. Like I'm talking soul destroying. The little tiny bit of happiness and glory is absolutely annihilated by the tragic third act. Just like a typical sports drama, a rookie wishes to become a champion (in this case a female) and so they train, win fights and compete in the title match. Yes, we've seen it all before. It's a formula that just works perfectly for the sports genre, so there is no need to alter it. Yet, Clint Eastwood decided to go that extra step further and throw in a plot twist that was ruined by the film's marketing. That issue aside, it was excellently executed and really does create an impact. This isn't just a story about winning boxing and becoming a champion. It's about pursuing your dreams and battling your own personal demons. Trying to make something out of your life. Two juxtaposing personalities makes this abundantly clear. Frankie Dunn gives people opportunities and strives for perfection whereas Eddie Dupris lives his life in regret for not being able to achieve his life's ambition. Maggie comes along with the pain and loss of her past life and is able to connect with these two experienced yet jaded individuals that transcends their sorrow. Through sheer determination of the sport, they battle on together. Like a family they unfortunately never had. Using the sport of boxing, Eastwood turns a simple plot into a subtextual construct about inspiration. Very touching. All performances were outstanding. Swank, Freeman and Eastwood were phenomenal, could watch them all day. Eastwood's direction was incredible, particularly how he filmed the boxing matches. The shots are far away so that you can see the actors fight, as if it was a real boxing match. Paul Haggis' screenplay was sharp and rather cut throat. Eastwood's lines were quite savage which enhanced how fatigued he was. The third act's tonal shift may steer some away but this is a well crafted and well acted sports drama.