|Million Dollar Baby [Blu-ray]
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"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. Clint Eastwood plays Dunn and directs, produces and composes music for this acclaimed, multi-award-winning tale of heart, hope and family. Hilary Swank plays resilient Maggie, determined not to abandon her one dream. And Morgan Freeman is Scrap, gym caretaker and counterpoint to Dunn's crustiness. Grab your dreams and come out swinging.
Clint Eastwood's 25th film as a director, Million Dollar Baby stands proudly with Unforgiven and Mystic River as the masterwork of a great American filmmaker. In an age of bloated spectacle and computer-generated effects extravaganzas, Eastwood turns an elegant screenplay by Paul Haggis (adapted from the book Rope Burns: Stories From the Corner by F.X. Toole, a pseudonym for veteran boxing manager Jerry Boyd) into a simple, humanitarian example of classical filmmaking, as deeply felt in its heart-wrenching emotions as it is streamlined in its character-driven storytelling. In the course of developing powerful bonds between "white-trash" Missouri waitress and aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), her grizzled, reluctant trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), and Frankie's best friend and training-gym partner Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman), 74-year-old Eastwood mines gold from each and every character, resulting in stellar work from his well-chosen cast. Containing deep reserves of love, loss, and the universal desire for something better in hard-scrabble lives, Million Dollar Baby emerged, quietly and gracefully, as one of the most acclaimed films of 2004, released just in time to earn an abundance of year-end accolades, all of them well-deserved. --Jeff Shannon
- Reminiscent of another era
Clint Eastwood's `Million Dollar Baby' is about a gruff, macho boxing trainer who trains an enthusiastic young woman. Its description belies the fact that it is an unusually subtle and moving film.
Less ambitious than Eastwood's previous movie `Mystic River', `Million Dollar Baby' centers on Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), an irritable boxing trainer who runs a gym with Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman), a former boxer known as "Scrap-Iron", who also works as a janitor. Their life is somewhat stagnant until Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) interrupts their world. She is a southern girl who visits the gym every moment she is not waitressing. Maggie wants nothing but to be trained by Frankie. As convention has it, he at first refuses, due to her sex and age, but eventually gives in.
Yet the film is far from conventional. It does not have a catchy moral message or one-liners. Morgan Freeman's beautiful narration is both poetic and natural, as is all the dialogue. The characters, who could easily have been uninteresting stereotypes, are well drawn and portrayed with restraint. Eastwood's acting pales slightly in comparison to Freeman and Swank, but he fits his role perfectly. Frankie is hardened and quietly tormented, but he searches for assurance and tenderness.
Freeman is also superbly cast as Eddie, whose eye was knocked sightless in his final fight. He is witty and genuine; he cannot stand watching people fall short of their potential. Eddie is more than a saintly sidekick; he has an edge that allows him to view the world realistically.
Maggie is perhaps one of the kindest, most sincere characters in cinema. Swank is unquestioningly believable as an earnest girl driven by a desire to box. She is honest and strong-minded and does not box for the violence (unlike some of her opponents, including a particularly scary boxer played by Lucia Rijker). However, like the other characters in this film, Maggie is alone.
Maggie and Frankie find glory in her boxing career. It is not because she is uncommonly talented; it is because she strives for success and because the two of them find satisfaction meeting the other's expectations. More importantly, Maggie and Frankie find each other, and their relationship is far less clich¨¦ than it sounds.
A few moments are predictable and exaggerated, including Maggie's redneck family. But overall, `Million Dollar Baby' is poignantly humanistic and timeless....more info
- a gift to rave about!
Excellent! I got it because Clint Eastwood was involved and loved it for the total content...more info
- Extremely overrated
Every once and a while, and sometimes even more often than that, there comes a film that critics practically drool over. Erupting headlines shoot like geysers from The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB. I get excited when there's a film like this, because I'm excited to see it and get my own opinions on it. Unfortunately, many times, I don't exactly like the film. For 2004, that film is Million Dollar Baby.
Hilary Swank plays Maggie Fitzgerald, a southern 31-year-old from Missouri who has come from a broken home, and has one dream: to win the title of a boxing championship. Clint Eastwood plays Frankie Dunn, the acclaimed boxing manager. "I don't train girls," is Dunn's immediate reflex once Maggie asks him to train her. Eventually, Dunn takes her as a trainee and eventually manages her boxing career, and the two of them begin an extremely strong, non-romantic emotional bond as Maggie advances towards her dream.
Of course, there's more complex elements to the story than that, but really, that's it in a nutshell. For some reason, I believe that the all-star cast (Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman) helped bring this mediocre film to it's blockbuster status, and also helped it go on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Yes, you'll hear critics say it's "Remarkable" and "The best film of the year" but none of them will ever say "Unique." Quite simply, because, there is nothing original about this film at all. There are so many films about someone going after their dreams I've lost count, and frankly, most of them are better and less appreciated than Million Dollar Baby.
Of course, there are some huge highpoints this film has hit. One--Clint Eastwood really was the right choice for director. He did a superb job with the film, made it detailed without making it boring, and made it an easier film to watch without having to concentrate super-hard like you're taking the SATs in high school. Two--Paul Haggis's incredibly talented writing skills shine through like rays of sun through a thin white bed sheet in this film. It's not so much that the screenplay was original, funny, and creative like the Oscar-winning one of Little Miss Sunshine, but it was so extraordinarily well written and the dialogue is extremely realistic. Three--astounding performances by Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman (in my opinion, ALL of them worthy of Oscars) bring the film to its feet. Mixed with Paul Haggis's exquisitely written screenplay, it's almost like you're watching a documentary. And in no way is that a bad thing!
Now we'll go back to the negative points for a bit. My least favourite thing about Million Dollar Baby is the ending. I can't really say much without ruining the film for you, but it was evident they were going for a very emotional and hard-hitting ending. Unfortunately, I didn't feel it. I get very emotional at sad films and am considered a rather emotional person, but the ending felt very rushed, overworked, and sloppily done. If they had spent another few weeks working on the ending, the ending alone would have made this film a classic.
Overall--don't get me wrong. This is a GOOD film. It's just very overrated, and in my opinion, isn't deserving of all people say it's cut out to be. And definitely not worthy of the Best Picture Oscar....more info
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Best picture? Really? Against The Ropes had more flavor than this. I can't even tell if this is supposed to be set in present day or like 30+ years ago, or if that ambiguity is intentional. The old trainer dude makes some arbitrary statements about "pride" and "heart" intended to pass for wisdom, and the way the other boxers in the gym behave makes it seem like a prison for the mentally disabled. Swank's character's manner of speaking like Huck Finn makes her seem at home in the asylum atmosphere, but there is no exploration of her progression as a fighter, it's just like one minute the trainer says she knows nothing and then suddenly she's convincingly winning all her fights. And what is the title supposed to mean? ...more info
- Million Dollar Baby on HD DVD
Absolutely marvelous. I missed this flic in its theatrical run. What a pleaseure to see and hear it in so excellent a format. GO HD DVD!!!!!...more info
- Absolutely stunning.
First, I dont give many films five stars. I believe the absolute pinnacle of filmmaking and talent with an ensemble cast that brings cohesion and belivability, makes a five star film. Fanboys and fanatical followers who follow their fav actors or directors around like lemmings and unfairly give their work five stars is sophmoric. I believe films like Empire of the Sun, Europe Europa, Remains of the Day, Schindler's List, E.T., Dead Poet's Society, Zeff's Romeo and Juliet, even Saw, are five star films. I finally have room to garner another film five stars, thus is 'Million Dollar Baby'.
Million dollar baby gave me an upper cut in which I still have not regained consciousness from. A mind numbing extasy of emotion, surrounded by a cornucopia of unpredictability, that I wanted to lather in its warmth and tenderness long after the rolling credits whited out an otherwise black screen. All I can simply find the need to say now is 'WOW'. Without a doubt this emotional masterpiece of finely honed craft, is without question, and rarely do I ever say this, one of the best films I have ever seen in my life.
I had given the idea to seeing this some thought several times, but loathing anything Clint Eastwood and my inate disdain to boxing, simply left my tongue dry with any thought of watering it. I was very surprised by my addiction to it from jumpstreet. During many moments I was grilled to the tv, so close I could hear my mother as a child telling me I would go blind because I was sitting so close to it. Actually routing her on from time to time, like we all did in Rocky, it made me smile and cheer and cry and think; it told me in a fashion that few films do, to move with your heart, think that you will acheive greatness, despite everyone around you saying you can't and despite obstacles, and the film spoke to me, in its own personal way, telling me not to take anything for granted.
I like the fact that a film can be an uplifting experience that stays with you days after you view it. Sure nothing wrong with a Harrison Ford flick once and again, but nothing beats the feeling of walking out of something tangible, that you can feel a part of.
Million Dollar Baby, full of stucco bravado and yearning contempt towards status quo and mainstream, its message is a strong and important one, a redefining look at the underdog in its capacity to have others pay attention, stagggeringly detailed in its tempo, it marvels in a way that makes me want to quit my every day job or night job I have, collect all the bills in the mattress and head out and be a filmmaker. Damn I dont know about you, but if I made a film, and someone, anyone, said that about my film, it would fill me with tears and a joy in which I know, wholeheartedly, would be the reason why film is made.
A way past prime female boxer, gets a chance from a worldclass trainer, in his own right, bitter with his ways, to train her to be the best in the world, and thus both finding solace through each other, which grows as each one learns more about the others world and where they came from. It's tender and tragic and seems to find its way from every nuance and turn in a fine display of cinematography and acting, that is uncompromisable.
The only moments that made the film stretch a bit, which really bothered me, as it was THAT good, was boy with serious issues that looked like he had turrets was very annoying, and not needed in any fashion and his return was pointless (save sticking with a dream) and unncessary....more info
- Soft and sweet, thoughtful and powerful...
It was only after I watched "$1M Baby" the second time, that it's power, via its simplicity, knocked me over. Eastwood has a way of allowing the audience to absorb the material, and, as mentioned in the extras, Paul Haggis' screenplay hadn't reached it's final draft before Eastwood decided that the primitive screenplay as it was would be more effective. It was a good decision. Characters are complete, and in the hands of the letter-perfect cast, there is no question about who these people are, what they want nor where they've been. Various plot twists keep things interesting, and there's a softness, even in the fight scenes, that makes you adore these people. Hilary Swank, once again, was in an Oscar race with Annette Bening. She deserved both. Excellent film! ...more info
- Great movie
Wonderful movie. good acting, good story, well directed. And its Clint Eastwood. Eastwood is starting to show is age. I hope he has a few more movies left in him. he is the best...more info
- Five stars all the way!
I did not want to watch this movie or care for boxing
but "hubby" did. He watches movies I like so I joined him to watch. I am so glad I did. I have always been a Clint fan since Rawhide days, he is so laid back and that makes him sexy. I think Morgan is a great actor, so natural. Hilary is just outstanding amd what hard work. Great and moving movie...more info
- GIrl Power!
When I think of this movie I think of the proccess of Vomiting. FIrst You take in the food, in this case two over-used plot devices: First, Girls proving they can be just as tough as the guy, second, traning really hard to become a success at whatever stupid sport imaginable. Second Your stomach combines the two pieces of food into one consistincy and then finally you puke this combination on to the floor.
Why did this win the Oscar for Best Picture? My only guess is that in this particular regurgitation had some good acting and directing in it. It is still nothing more than another vomit stain on the living room of the biggest vomit producing machine in the world: hollywood...more info
- Full circle!!!
Clint Eastwood has done some beautiful cinematic work in his lifetime, but this one takes the cake. There's something magical about Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood together on screen (again). I don't know what it is, but it works. And Hillary Swank is magnificent! This movie takes you on an emotional ride of realism that comes full circle by movies end. This movie is great!...more info
Hillary Swank is brilliant as the would-be champion student fighter.
Cinematography is stunning (the in-ring action jolts you).
Morgan Freeman only plays one character -- and he shows up again in this film.
Clint Eastwood needs to stay on the back side of the camera. I idolized him in his early westerns, and the Dirty Harry stuff. Now, he can no longer get away with just turning in long steely eyed profile shots. Maybe he's just bored with it. It certainly looks that way. He was the worst actor in the film.
While generally enjoying the film, I noticed the awkward "dreamy" music. It was out of place. Then I was surprised (but not surprised) to see that Eastwood had written the music. This attempt as a composer was not much better than his performance as a "singer" in Honky-Tonk Man. I admire Eastwood for stretching his boundaries . . . I just wish he wouldn't do it with my entertainment money.
Still, the story is quite good, and Swank as the centerpiece is great. Worth the watch. 3 1/2 stars....more info
- Inspiration mixed with Melancholy
This was great movie that started as a model for inspiration to all those who feel they are trapped in rut of poverty. Hilary Swank does a tremendous job portraying a red-neck trailer-trash that is trying to break the cycle of poverty and sees herself doing the only thing she knows how to do, fight.
The ever intimidating Clint Eastwood play the reluctant boxing trainer that regrets not taking previous fighters to the next level and sees Swank as "just a girl" and Eastwood does not train girls. After Swank's character will just not give up Eastwood finally gives in and becomes one of the biggest thorns in Eastwood's side.
The ending is emotional and brings in a sense of melancholy that never fades. This film was a great portrayal of the trials and tribulations that come from rising from the depths of poverty mixed with the risks of boxing. Great Film!!
- 3.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
Marred only by an unfortunate subplot involving a mentally-deficient boxer, Million Dollar Baby is a powerful look at three characters that pulls no punches and takes its story to an emotionally honest conclusion; a deserved Oscar-winner, it is well worth a watch. ...more info
- Why the hype?
Aside from being beautifully shot, this film took a 180 degree turn about halfway through and went from inspired to the other side of insipid. Definitely not a feel-good film.
If you liked "To live & Die in L.A' or 'Seven'. You'll love this film....more info
- REACHING FOR DREAMS
Eastwood, Swank and Freeman ( who finally got a much over-due Oscar ) are all magnificent in this fantastic film. There is not a false step in this masterpiece. It resonates with quiet power, and harsh beauty, and it packs an emotional impact that few films in any genre can compete with. ROCKY looks 'cute' next to this 'baby.' MILLION DOLLAR BABY is a classic, pure and simple....more info
- "There is magic in fighting battles beyond endurance."
Abandon any notions that Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" is another routine underdog-rises-to-the-top boxing tale. This is a film more concerned with examining the hard choices that life sometimes asks us to make.
Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) asks Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) to train her as a boxer. Frankie refuses because he says she is too old and a girl. Yet, the defiant Maggie continues to insist and, with the support of Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman), gets Frankie to change his mind. Soon she is on the fast track to success but a terrifying accident abruptly changes her life and forces Frankie to make a difficult decision.
Eastwood never resorts to melodrama or cheap manipulative tricks in "Million Dollar Baby" to examine the value of one's personal dignity. He instead uses his veteran directing talents to weave together a heartbreaking story that refuses to supply any easy answers. Maggie's quick professional ascension may stretch credibility a bit but this is a minor quibble. Anchored by strong performances throughout, especially that of Swank's, "Million Dollar Baby" is a compelling piece of filmmaking that will undoubtedly linger in your mind for quite some time. ...more info
Hillary gives the awsome performance with her small town southern ways-but it cant hide her beauty. Is Morgan in every movie? He's great as always. The movie is a must have and deserved the best picture it recieved. A tear jerker at a couple parts and a delight overall...more info
Once again, Clint Eastwood proves, that he's 'the man'. The story of "Million Dollar Baby" is gripping and well told. The direction is very good, and the production values are top. The actors are all well cast and act well. Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood both do a great job, as does of course Hilary Swank as ms. Fitzgerald. The boxing, training and matches are well done, and the subplots all act out well and believeably.
The ending is maybe just a wee bit too much drama, but I guess that's in a way also what makes the movie what it is.
Definitely worth watching...more info
- HOW DID IT WIN
One of the things I will never understand is how this film won Best Picture and Best Actress. I love Clint and Hilary, but this film was boring and nothing special. It wasn't aweful, but in reality it shouldn't have even been nominated. It was, once again, dark and I fell asleep twice. Hilary Swank won the Oscar, once again stealing it from Annete Benning who deserved it. Swank just put on a bad accent and it was not a great performance. The Aviator sshould have won ultimately but it didn't. I was dissapointed...more info
- a good one
A good movie, but a sad one. Hillary Swank is the best, and so is Clint Eastwood. ...more info
- Million Dollar Hilary!
While I'm not into women's boxing, per-se, this was nonetheless quite a powerful movie. The plot has an unexpected twist in it, and I would admonish people who view this movie NOT to find out what the twist is before watching it.
I swear, you could dress Clint Eastwood up in a pink dress, put little girly hairpins in his hair and he would STILL be more macho than the lot of we men. In this film, he portrays a past-his-prime boxing trainer who is without any top-notch contenders to teach.
Hilary Swank is a girl who shows up @ the gym some day, pays her dues and wants to get a trainer. Eastwood's character is reluctant to be her manager as he's never dealt with women boxers below. However, in the end her charm wins him over.
Morgan Freeman is great as an over-the-hill boxer who had a very bad experience in his final bout. His character is kind of the "stabilizing force" of the movie.
Hilary is toned & buff for the film. She looks sexy even with a broken nose and blood all over her face. On top of that, she's an accomplished actress. This will be one of the most memorable roles in this timespan of her career, although I have a feeling she will still be active as an actress in her 50's & 60's.
This is a sports movie, but it is a very atypical one. It is as much about Hilary's character as it is about her boxing prowess. Hilary portrays a girl trying to break away from poverty, and the thing she is best at is boxing. There is perhaps more character development in this film than any other movie I know of. That's always a plus for a sports film!...more info