Million Dollar Baby (2004) Director: Clint Eastwood
I enjoy watching a good Clint Eastwood film, but Million Dollar Baby is a fairly mediocre movie in my view despite winning Best Picture that year. Hilary Swank delivers a terrific performance, but otherwise I tend to believe the struggling boxer theme is tired and overdone in cinema. Million Dollar Baby is not a film I would soon watch again, nor would I recommend it.
The story is somewhat predictable (with a tragic twist at the end). It follows a rising female boxer named Maggie Fitzgerald (played by Hilary Swank) as she secures an aging coach (played by Clint Eastwood). Together they win a surprising string of fights while handling Fitzgerald’s trashy family, until Fitzgerald ultimately absorbs a cheap shot that snaps her neck, leaving her paralyzed. In the end, her manager pulls her plug allowing her to die. The film is narrated by Morgan Freeman.
The title for the film was taken from a World War II bomber, and the story, itself, is derived from the short stories of F.X. Toole (the nom de plume of boxing manager, Jerry Boyd). Admittedly, I had little connection or interest in this narrative.