“Million Dollar Controversy,”
By Ryan Anderson
February 10th, 2005
Eastwood, after being robbed of an Oscar for “Mystic River” last
year, is back with a vengeance. While not better than “The Passion”
(which was snubbed) and although it raises moral questions, his new
motion picture “Million Dollar Baby” is still a good film. Many said
the trailers make it look like a “female ‘Rocky”, In a sense it is.
But if one sees a trailer for a film like “Nightmare on Elm Street”
would you complain upon seeing it because it’s a slasher film? So in
a sea of great reviews and upset protesters…who should you believe?
Well, honestly, “Million Dollar Baby”
beautifully done. The film centers around Frankie (played by Mr.
Eastwood), a boxing manager who owns a gym and (proudly) only trains
men. So when Maggie (Hillary Swank), an up-and-coming female boxer
enters the gym one day, Frankie refuses to help her out. But upon
insistent nagging he gives in. Surprisingly, Maggie is a natural and
takes to it right away. The two form a tight bond, but neither of
them can predict what would happen next.
Personally, I hate spoilers…so there will be
none. That’s part of the magic of movies. However, if this is a feel
good boxing film, why all the trouble? Near the end of the film
Frankie is driven to do make a difficult choice that some feel
socially unacceptable. Many think that the film glorifies or at
least condones this action. Under that theory and logic though,
couldn’t a film about Ted Bundy condone murder? I couldn’t tell
you. I could tell you I personally don’t think this film glorifies
anything. It gives both sides of the issue very well.
The film itself, visually, is beautiful. It’s
full of very dark overtones, much like “Mystic River”. As for the
performances, I don’t think anyone could have pulled off the role of
Maggie as well as Hillary Swank. Morgan Freeman plays the narrator
Eddie (true to ‘Shawshank redemption’ style), and Clint
is…well…Clint is Clint. Again, the film is very dark…not that
there’s anything wrong with that. In the end it’s a film about life
and the excruciatingly tough choices some of us have to make in it.
So is this film glorifying a certain
action? You could take it that way, but I’d have to disagree. Look
how it turns out in the end for yourself…then decide. Anyone might
be offended by the choices a fictional character makes. But in the
end…it’s their choice, not ours. In this case it comes off not as
much a heroic action, but more of an act of desperation.
This film deserves the nominations it’s gotten.
It’s not a story about someone committing this “certain act”. It’s
much more than that. It’s a film about determination and loyalty.
Leaving the theatre there is a shroud over you. It’s depressing.
Films can be. Often times the best movies are. Other occasions it
doesn’t work that way at all. The point is; this is art…it’s not
something to get that upset about.
It’s been said it’s hard to write a review of
this film without spoilers…I think it went pretty well.