Million Dollar Baby
I think my theater's projector was underpowered. How else does one explain all the shadowy, nearly unintelligible shots director Clint Eastwood tries to pass off as art?
The message of this movie is that it's more important to live a short life chasing your dreams than to live a life with no dreams at all. The reason I know this is the movie's message is that it couldn't have been clubbed into me much harder, which is why I think the film is about boxing. Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) beats her opponents into submission while Eastwood and Morgan Freeman, who provides a ridiculous and overbearing narration, beat the message into me.
Speaking of beating, you'll also notice very early on that boxing manager Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) is estranged from his own daughter and that Maggie has no father. This, of course, provides the perfect grounds for a really, really close relationship between the two, even if it doesn't seem that they'll ever get there early on in the movie. You see, as far as Eastwood the director is concerned, the more two characters butt heads at the beginning of a film, the more touching it is at the end when they grow really close. The audience gets to sit there for about an hour while Frankie tells Maggie over and over again that he doesn't manage girls. Of course, we all know it's just a matter of time before she wins him over and they become buds.
Another beating by Eastwood the director occurs with his management of Big Willie Little (Mike Colter) as this provides all the context any hard-headed audience member might need to understand Frankie's fears. Frankie is afraid to take chances. He always wants to be sure. Consequently, he won't sign Big Willie up for a championship fight and Willie finds other management and wins the title. You probably get it: Frankie has risk/reward issues. Maggie will teach him the importance of chasing dreams.
Morgan Freeman plays the wise, old black man. His narration is purely useless, providing a mass of exposition couched in awful boxing metaphors. He talks about cuts as life lessons. He works in Frankie's gym and, despite being modestly successful and overwhelmingly uneducated, manages to see through every psychological conundrum of every character like he's Erich Fromm.
As one might guess, Frankie does indeed manage Maggie, and she ascends through the ranks of women's boxing, eventually gaining a title shot. Unfortunately, that title shot ends in tragedy as Maggie is blindsided after the bell by a vicious boxer and quite abruptly the film becomes "Whose Life is it Anyway?"
I guess it's better than having the film end with Maggie winning the title and calling Frankie "dad," but not by much.
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