Million Dollar Baby [DVD] 
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Academy Award-winning drama directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), a down-on-his-luck former boxing manager, runs a small gym in downtown Los Angeles. One day, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) enters Frankie's gym and announces she needs a trainer. Frankie doesn't think much of women boxing and Maggie lacks experience and has no technique. However, she sees boxing as her one chance at a better life and won't give up easily
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
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins as a typical yarn about a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks who has a dream, a relentless determination and self-belief to make something of herself through boxing. She persuades the grizzly trainer played by Clint Eastward to take her on and Morgan Freeman narrates with his hallmark understated, commanding tones.
The film knocks the wind out of you when it takes a turn that is completely unexpected and leaves you numbed with shock as the tragic events unfurl.
The performances by all the lead characters are superb and the film's impact will stay with you for a long time.
There is a superb script by Paul Haggis who has recently written and directed Crash to much acclaim.
Direction here though is by Mr Eastwood himself and it is not hard to see why he won the Best Director Oscar for this.
His acting as Frank, the grizzled manager, is also fine and must rank as one of his best performances. Hilary Swank as Maggie, the female fighter, is also fantastic and brings the character completely to life. Another deserved Oscar-winning performance.
Morgan Freeman provides top support and Clint also wrote the music for this.The movie lasts over two hours but the time just flies in.
This really is a 'must see' movie.
'Baby' boasts a trio of well developed and engaging characters, a memorable story about a wannabee boxer seeking her shot and a unifying theme about love, sacrifice and the meaning of life. Working from a brilliant script by Paul Haggis, Clint's confident, understated direction doesn't put a foot wrong and the noir-ish lighting evokes a tremendous atmosphere, a sense in which simple acts of friendship and kindness between the characters are the only thing keeping back the darkness. The score (also by Clint) is minimalist and haunting and the actors performances are off the scale.
Watching Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald you have to kick yourself to believe that you're watching an actress. As a big-hearted girl seeking her chance Swank is 100% persuasive and her boxing scenes are frighteningly convincing (it's with a mild sense of awe that one learns that prior to this Hilary was best known as a skinny underwear model for Calvin Klein!). Equally as good is Morgan Freeman as Scrap, a former boxer of Frankie Dunn's (as played by Eastwood) and Frankie's best friend. Scrap narrates the film in voiceover (ala 'Shawshank Redemption') and one of the many pleasures of this movie is the collective 'Aha!' on the part of the audience when the receipient of his voiceover is finally identified.Read more ›
PLOT: The boxer underdog battles her way into the championship ranks -- accompanied by the inspirational music of Bill Conti's score. The uplifting part is about what happens when a grizzled boxing trainer, himself knocked out of the ring and into a ringside role, reluctantly takes on a 31-year-old female boxer loaded with grit and heart.
Hilary Swank, the boxer, is all spark and spunk who clutches at this one last chance to shake her trailer-trash roots and diner-waitressing routine. From beginning to end, she's just as effective in the opening act through to the harrowing last act when the film skids into tragedy. What energy!
This movie presents a totally different genre where these character opposites, separated by completely different tastes, experiences and forty years, must face their messy lives and deal with a mutual tragedy. Although the word love isn't exchanged between them, that is what's going on -- but not the typical man-woman mix, rather a more complicated and complete kind of bonding that, up until now, has somehow been "impossible" to put on the screen.
A third important character is another ex-boxer who, out of guilt, Eastwood has hired to run his gym. Played with a lot of class by Morgan Freeman, Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris serves as an emotional referee who brings this improbable pair together, and tries his damndest to keep them there.
That versitile Eastwood has ALREADY won the New York Film Critics Award for his direction of MILLION DOLLAR BABY. This could become the best movie of 2005.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Morgan Freeman works with Clint Eastwood again and what a cracker.
Hilary Swank outstanding as the boxing lady.
'Remember what my dad did to Axel'? Read more
Won't even play, dodgy DVD, wouldn't bother, very disappointing birthday present!Published 4 months ago by Nicola