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Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Rothe Blog Million Dollar BabyFour Stars

I was in for a shock with this one. I figured it was a happy story with some letdown, kind of like a girl Rocky. Boy was I wrong.

Starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman, this is a really good movie. I have seen a number of movies Clint has directed in the last ten years and haven’t known it. But he has gotten quite the acclaim for the last two. I didn’t really understand the big hoopla over “Mystic River”, but this one…

Swank comes from a redneck trailer family, and is trying to scrap her way through life, eating other people’s food at the restaurant she works at, and living with the bare essentials. But she has one goal. She pays three month’s fee to work out at a ratty gym owned by Eastwood, who happens to be a great and personal trainer who cares about his fighters.

She works and works, and finally wins his attention, his promise to train her. And she is good. There is something satisfying about watching her win fight after fight against girls of all sizes, most of them K.O.’s. You believe Swank all the way. The shape she is in, her punches, her humility and simple way.

Swank then takes all of the money she has saved to try to do good in her family chain. All she gets in return is a slap in the face, and from that point on Eastwood is the only family she has, and we find out they only have each other really.

Hesitant about his fighters and disappointment, Eastwood lost a fighter in the beginning of the movie. So he lets Swank fight at the top level. To make a long story short, after three rounds of intense back and forth fighting, her opponent continues to fight dirty, hits Swank and she falls onto a stool and breaks her neck.

Painful and sad, she is paralyzed for the rest of her life. She loses a leg to bed sores and gangrene and loses hope. She doesn’t want to go out that way, after reaching such great heights for her hard work. She asks Eastwood to kill her, and although he says no at first, he does anyway as she finds ways to kill herself.

The movie kind of drags at the end, being so sad. But I would recommend anyone to see this at least once. You may feel depressed, but at least you will feel some satisfaction that this girl, this redneck girl, experienced life.

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