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When Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a 31-year-old girl from Missouri with an uncommon amount of heart, pesters Dunn to take her under his wing, he grows frustrated and belligerent.“I don’t train girls.” “Everything in boxing is backwards.” Dupris is softer around the edges, inspiring him to give a few pointers to the persistent woman – including lending her a speed bag unearthed from Dunn’s back room, and refusing to evict her from the premises.
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Movie critics know, and if they don’t they learn the hard way, that readers don’t want to be told about plot twists.
So reviews of "Million Dollar Baby" have been coy about what happens.
Like every pugilist tale, training montages and suspenseful bouts take up a sizable portion of screentime (photographed sharply by repeat collaborator Tom Stern).
But Eastwood isn’t interested solely in the action; “Million Dollar Baby” is a very human story, intent on examining realistic interactions, wholesome bonding, and a crushing sequence in which Maggie attempts to reconnect with her mother (reinforcing the themes of trust, reliability, and the importance of personal values).His longtime pal Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), the best cut-man in the business, doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for anyone, but he excels at what he does.Currently, he’s grooming “Big” Willie Little (Mike Colter) for a championship, coaching him at his modest gym.Maggie comes from a hardscrabble background and has always felt like "trash," she says. She turns out to be a gifted boxer and is on the way to a world championship. Then a ruthless opponent lands a surprise punch between rounds, and Maggie falls, smacking her head brutally against the stool placed in her corner. Frankie begins to make arrangements for her new life.He brings her a catalog for the community college, and says he’s found a kind of wheelchair she can steer by blowing into a tube.She says she needs Frankie’s help to die, but this is also inaccurate, since anyone dependent on a ventilator can legally ask that it be removed. Here’s what she tells Frankie:"I can’t be like this, boss, not after what I’ve done. By this standard, anyone who comes to the end of their fifteen minutes of fame is justified in seeking suicide.Maggie doesn’t seem distraught over being an athlete who is now disabled. Truth is, a real-life Maggie would be far from unknown.This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.[National Review Online, January 31, 2005]Clint Eastwood’s "Million Dollar Baby" has won a basketful of Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.scar (and, perhaps, quite a number of awards groups) tends to favor boxing movies.Or, rather, boxing seems to be an unusually cinematic subject matter, as it finds its way into motion pictures virtually every single year.