Million Dollar Baby (12A)

Directed by Clint Eastwood, written by F.X. Toole, screenplay by Paul Haggis
On general release

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In some ways this is an old fashioned film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, about a rags to riches story which has a tragic twist at the end. But I fail to understand why it has been praised so much and has been nominated for an Oscar award in several categories.

It is a simple tale of Maggie (Hilary Swank) who is employed in dead-end jobs and aspires to become a professional female boxer. She finally persuades old-time trainer Frankie (Clint Eastwood), or "boss" as she repeatedly calls him, to reluctantly take her under his wing to help her in this quest.

She quickly climbs the ladder of success with a series of knock-out victories against hapless opponents, but her career is terminated when she is left paralysed following a fight.

Unable to cope with being confined to a bed or a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she pleads with Frankie to cut off her life support system in the hospital. Apparently the pro-life movement in the USA were outraged by this storyline.

The film does not carry enough depth in its characters to make me believe in them. There are too many stereotypes including the crooked lawyer, washed up boxers, unscrupulous managers, etc.

Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Morgan Freeman), who works and lives at Frankie's gym, is the narrator throughout the film. It is the second time he has teamed up with Eastwood, following their pairing in the epic Western 'Unforgiven'.