Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2004: Million Dollar Baby

Maggie Fitzgerald is a nobody from nowhere who wants to be a boxer.  Frankie Dunn is an old boxing trainer who insists that he doesn't train girls.  But Maggie's persistance wins him over, and, with the help of a former-boxer-turned-gym-caretaker named Scrap, Frankie turns Maggie into a world-renowned boxer.

This movie is extremely well-made.  The casting is brilliant; Hilary Swank is a perfectly relatable Maggie, and Morgan Freeman is simply amazing, as always.  But this is pretty much Clint Eastwood's project - he stars in, directs, produces, and even composes music for this film.  And it comes together beautifully.  It's kind of a dark story, so many scenes take place at night, when there's only a single shaft of light.  The mood created by the cinematography is somber yet hopeful, which perfectly complements the story.  From the lighting to the soundtrack to the character development, and everything in between, one couldn't ask for a better-crafted film.

While this movie is incredible, it's also excruciatingly painful to watch.  I will never understand why people consider boxing matches entertaining.  I wince at every punch, even though I know it's not even real.  And then the climax is heart-stopping.  This is the second time I've seen this film, and it was much more painful than the first time, since I spent most of it anticipating the horrible things that I knew were going to happen later.  This is a fabulous film, but it's definitely not one that can be watched over and over again.

Stay tuned for: Crash

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