Released a little over a year after the grand success of his Oscar-winning
feature Mystic River, Clint Eastwood returns to the director's chair for Million
Dollar Baby. Eastwood also stars in the role of Frankie Dunn, a down-on-his-luck
former boxing manager who spends the twilight years of his life running a small,
dilapidated gym in downtown Los Angeles.
Frankie's previous career was blighted by an injury to one of his prize
fighters, Scrap (Morgan Freeman), who lost the sight in his right eye during a
particularly brutal bout; Scrap now wiles away the hours working as a cleaner in
Frankie's gym. Wary of similar occurrences being inflicted on the prestigious
young talent that passes before him, Frankie lets a succession of great boxers
slip through his fingers. But when the brash, confident young boxer Maggie
Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) strides into the gym, Frankie's life is irretrievably
Initially refusing to train Maggie due to her gender and age, Frankie relents
when faced with her tenacity, spirit, and burning ambition. The combination of
Maggie's talent and Frankie's tutelage paves the way for the adroit fighter to
rise steadily through the ranks of women's boxing, with the unlikely coupling
forming a genuinely touching bond in the process.
Clint Eastwood has crafted a boxing film fit to stand alongside classics such as
Raging Bull and Rocky. The scenes between Eastwood and Freeman are a delight to
watch, with the two old hands pulling off masterfully understated performances
as a couple of men teetering on the brink of failure. Likewise, Swank puts in a
powerful turn as Maggie, further emphasising her penchant for unusual roles, and
perhaps even bettering her incredible, Oscar-winning showing as Teena Brandon in
Boys Don't Cry.
Million Dollar Baby scooped a total of 4 Oscars at the 2005 Academy Award
ceremony: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Hilary Swank) and Best
Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman).
Approx Feature Run Time: 127 Mins