Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
|Featuring||Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Christina Cox|
|Producer||Tom Rosenberg, Albert S. Ruddy, Clint Eastwood, Paul Haggis|
Euthanasia and Disability
Movie Review by Joni Eareckson Tada’s site, Joni and Friends: GO
(Note: A diving accident in 1967 left Mrs. Tada a quadriplegic, unable to use her hands or legs. Since then, she has personally visited over 41 countries, several of them many times, authored many books, spoken before millions of people, and received a presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability.
Michael Medved calls “Million Dollar Baby” “insufferably manipulative.”—Read
In the disability magazine Ragged Edge, Mary Johnson explains why “Million Dollar Baby” and another right-to-die film, “The Sea Inside,” are dangerous.—Read
National Spinal Cord Injury Association calls “Million Dollar Baby” “a brilliantly executed attack on life after spinal cord injury” and part of Eastwood’s “disability vendetta.”—Read
Debbie Schlussel’s article: “Million Dollar Baby’s” Multi-Million Dollar Rip-Off—Read
American Family Association’s article: Million Dollar Euthanasia
See our review of “The Sea Inside”
Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer
What is prayer? Answer
About Pain and Suffering
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
AFTER LIFE, WHAT THEN?
Is Hell a real place, where those who do not follow Christ will spend eternity? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
Am I good enough to go to Heaven? Answer
FINDING HOPE AND ULTIMATE ANSWERS
How do I know the Bible is true? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Are you going to Heaven? Answer
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A fighter-turned-trainer forms a platonic love affair with a woman in her early 30s who is determined to begin a boxing career.”
Going another round in the ring with Clint Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby” involves a familiar actor combination, as well as jabs of his usual amounts of melancholy. This narrative is lighter on its feet than some of his other films, due to its added bits of humor, but it also delivers a sucker punch that will send you reeling and force you to wrestle with some very weighty moral matters.
Gym owner and boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) loses his latest trainee but is soon approached by another ambitious athlete, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), who aims at being a professional boxer. Not necessarily dismissing her because she is a girl, Frankie tells her frankly he does not want to train her. But once he changes his mind, he is led to a fight he never anticipated and is forced to face his old adage that “Everything in boxing is backwards.” But for him at least, he has made a losing choice that he believes makes him a winner.
Several times throughout the film, Jesus Christ’s name is used in vain. Due to the subject matter, there are various incidents of people being punched during boxing bouts, as well as two moments that are more gratuitous than a typical fight. There is also one instance where the f-word was used. Subject matter and themes are also for a more mature audience, but do not involve any sexual content or nudity. However, one scene entails a shallow guy making comments about a woman’s body.
One interesting aspect to this story is that Frankie is an avid churchgoer who pesters his priest Father Horvak (Brian O’Byrne) on a weekly basis regarding an issue with his daughter. The details of this strained relationship are never explained, but we know that Frankie has letters returned regularly and that he kneels beside his bed nightly to petition God yet again. It’s open to interpretation whether God answers Frankie’s prayers, but what is disappointing is how the priest responds to Frankie at times. At the height of his frustration with Frankie, the priest uses the f-word and calls him a pagan.
When Frankie faces his most difficult challenge, he once again approaches the priest and asks for advice. He explains how Maggie has asked for Frankie’s help, so the priest tells Frankie to “leave it to God.” Frankie replies, “But she’s not asking for God’s help. She’s asking for mine.” Frankie does the opposite of the priest’s suggestions that follow, but what Frankie decides is presented as the better choice, not resulting in the negative outcome that the priest predicts. In terms of religion and moral issues, this film could easily generate many lengthy, involved discussions about its topic (see relevant issues list).
Aside from any debates that could arise from this film, the production value is absolutely stellar. From exceptional lighting to virtuoso dialogue and acting (i.e. Morgan Freeman), this film is a mature piece of craftsmanship. It is natural, believable and undeniably well done. The characters, the story and the complexity of relationships are so well developed that the movie never seems to miss a beat. Everything is relevant and meaningful.
The film does carry a redemptive outcome, highlighting the idea of heaven—in an interpretive way. It is entertaining and very provoking. If you see it, expect to think about it more than the two hours you spend in the theater.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None