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Million Dollar Baby


Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby dominated this years Oscar ceremony and deservedly so. This is a picture that is about so much more than the beautifully choreographed fight scenes that litter much of it. It is a truly compelling tale of hope, grit and the determination to achieve anything in the face of adversity, but with much darker undertones. 

It opens with the guilt-ridden Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) taking his fighter to one fight from the championship before he is poached by another manager. His man wins but this can’t stem his pain. The steady stream of unopened letters from his estranged daughter and the fact that his partner “Scrap-Iron” (Freeman) can only see through one eye have seen to that.

This all changes when Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) walks through the door of his gym. With nothing to lose, she is as determined to be trained by him, as he is reluctant to train her. Eventually though, he is won over and manages to tap into her potential, propelling her into an inspirational ascent through the ranks, whilst they develop a touching closeness that gives them the opportunity to get over grief from the past. However, despite their successes and the growing bond between them, a far greater challenge is lurking up ahead.

There are moments of unbelievable callousness, agonising decisions and cruel twists of fate but what endures is the raw emotional impact of the two leads relationship, which is nothing short of breathtaking. The actors are at the peak of their profession with Swank proving once again that she is one of the finest actresses of her generation. Eastwood is suitably believable and Freeman effortlessly becomes his character, also providing a brilliantly effective voiceover. 

Overall, it is hard to say much more without completely spoiling the plot, but suffice to say that this film will leave you thinking. There are choices that the characters make that you might not agree with and some highly emotive questions are raised, but to me this only serves to make it all the more powerful. If you see one film this term, make it this one. You will not be disappointed.

James Kopka

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)