Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Champion Filmmaking

***This Review Contains Spoilers***

Million Dollar Baby is a movie I find works on different levels. On my first viewing, I found the majority of the film great right up until the plot’s heartbreaking turn of events, it easily ranked as one of my new favourite films of all time. On second viewing, however, I found substantially even better as I was waiting in dread for the proceeding events; I mean almost literally quivering in fear knowing that dreadful scene in which Maggie falls to the ground and her neck lands on the side on a stool. Thanks to this movie I now fear the very sight of a stool. Million Dollar Baby is one of the most emotionally draining films I’ve ever witnessed. It’s such a powerful experience I can’t just immediately watch another film right away and I’ll still be thinking about it for days afterward; a film so absorbing you don’t want it to end. Yet the last forty minutes after Maggie Fitzgerald’s life-threatening injury are so difficult to watch. Morgan’s Freeman’s monologue in which he tries to justify a reason to pull the plug on Maggie as she got her shot and can leave the world thinking “I think I did alright” really made me appreciate being alive.

I don’t know if it was the filmmaker’s intent but I certainly get the impression Million Dollar Baby has a pro-assisted suicide message which will rub many people the wrong way. I will point out though I’m not against movies containing a message which supports a point of view, regardless of my views on the issue at hand as this (on top of making more people aware of an issue) can create a vocal point of discussion as well as being thought-provoking.

Eastwood has only become better over time, delivering an amazing streak of directorial efforts during throughout the 2000’s, with stories of unpretentious human emotion. His direction on Million Dollar Baby (as well as many of his other films) is astounding in how he makes the art of filmmaking look easy. It amazes me the effectiveness of his films despite their simplistic (at least on the surface level) and humble nature. Never has the presence of a fighter training in a darkly lit gym ever looked so immaculate. Likewise, Eastwood can combine serious drama and subtle humor perfectly. I love his smart-alecky sense of humor such as the scenes in which he annoys a priest for his own amusement or my personal favourite moment, Eastwood and Freeman’s conversation about socks. Not to mention Morgan Freeman’s narration is pure heaven to listen too, never as exposition been pleasurable. If only Morgan Freeman could narrate my life. I know its easy to throw around the “M” word, but in this instance, I will use it. Million Dollar Baby is nothing short of a masterpiece.