In this week’s “O’Ryan Factor”, Ryan Anderson reviews a contender for this years Oscar for Best Picture, brilliantly capturing the essense of the motion picture with out spoiling the plot…


“Million Dollar Controversy,”
By Ryan Anderson

February 10th, 2005

O'Ryan FactorClint 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.



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