Monday, January 31, 2005

Saw the film "Million Dollar Baby" yesterday.

When I first heard about this film, old grizzled gym owner becomes manager for young woman boxer, well, it sounded pretty lame. I've seen this film before, haven't I?

Boy was I wrong!

Clint Eastwood is gym owner/trainer/manager, Frankie Dunn. As the film opens he's currently managing an up and coming boxer. An estrangement from his daughter has left him a hardened and embittered man. A young woman, Maggie Fitzgerald, enters his gym with the sole purpose of having Frankie train and manage her. Despite her raw talent and determination Frankie refuses to have anything to do with her.

After a professional setback, Frankie is left without a fighter. Something about Maggie draws him out of his shell so he reluctantly decides to train her. Over the next several months they work hard to hone Maggie's skills and she slowly climbs up among the ranks, knocking out would be challengers.

Sound familiar? Well, it really isn't. The film has such a high quality and strong performances that it feels fresh and new. Clint is solid as Frankie and Hilary Swank defines Maggie keeping her from becoming a cliche. Helping to round out the cast is the ever dependable Morgan Freeman. You almost can't go wrong with a film if you have Morgan in it. As Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris he helps to tie together the whole story. (besides, you can't go wrong when you have Morgan Freeman narrating a film, remember Shawshank Redemption?)

Million Dollar Baby is a very good film. It runs the gamut of emotions and allows you to get sucked up into the story and with these characters.

I've currently seen now four of the five nominated films for Best Picture and unless Ray totally blows me away, there's no way in hell that this shouldn't win best Oscar.

I give this film a "knock-out":

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