|‘Million Dollar Baby’ a priceless epic|
This is not a movie about boxing.
This is not a movie with computerized special effects. This movie has no explosions, sex, drugs, dead bodies or anything else you’ll see on the evening news.
This is, simply, the best movie of the year.
It’s a beautiful story about love and trust, courage and family. It’s a story about coming from nothing and convincing people to take a chance on a nobody. It is all of these things and more.
“Million Dollar Baby” was adapted by Paul Haggis from “Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner” by F.X. Toole. Toole is a pseudonym for the late Jerry Boyd, a fight manager from Los Angeles who was 70 years old when “Rope Burns” was published in 2000. Boyd died in 2002 after complications from heart surgery.
The film, narrated by Scrap (Morgan Freeman), tells the story of three people from the time Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks into fight trainer Frankie Dunn’s (Clint Eastwood) gym.
All three actors deserve Oscars for their performances. Swank’s performance as Maggie, a waitress coming from nothing, but in possession of fierce determination, is arguably the best of her career. Maggie wants to be a boxer and she wants Frankie to train her. Frankie doesn’t want to take a chance on her since she’s a “girl.” Scrap, Frankie’s gym manager and friend, eventually convinces Frankie to train Maggie.
Scrap’s narration is perfect, telling the story simply without making excuses for anyone and without trying to make the story flowery and poetic, although the story itself is poetry.
For a movie that was shot in only 39 days, the film never rushes through a scene, and because of the natural pace of the film, the viewer becomes closer to the characters and grows to really care about them.
If you only see one Oscar movie this year, make sure it’s this one.