Million Dollar Baby: Movie Reflection

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Summary
  • Positive and negative things about the movie
  • Conclusion
  • References


Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The main actors are Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Million Dollar Baby won four Academy Awards, including his second Best Director Oscar for the film, Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscars for Swank and Freeman. Its screenplay was written by Paul Haggis, based on short stories by F. X. Toole. Originally published under the title “Rope Burns”, the stories have since been republished under the film’s title.

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Margaret Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a waitress from a Missouri little town, shows up in the “Hit Pit”, a gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), an old boxing trainer. Maggie asks him to train her, but he initially refuses. She works out each day in his gym even after he tells her that she is too old to begin a boxing career at her age. However, Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman), Frankie’s friend and employee (also the film’s narrator) encourages him and end ups helping her.

Frankie’s prize prospect, called “Big Willie”, signs with a successful manager Mick Mack after becoming impatient with Frankie rejecting offers for a championship fight. Frankie, impressed with her persistence, agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basic and then find her a manager.

Before her first fight, Frankie leaves Maggie with a random manager in his gym, after to her upset, Frankie rejoins Maggie in the middle of the fight, and she ends up winning. She fights her way up in the women’s amateur boxing division with Frankie’s coaching winning fights with first-round knockouts. Eventually, Frankie takes a risk by putting her in the junior welterweight class, where she gets her nose broke in her first match.

Frankie starts to stablish a paternal bond with Maggie, who substitutes for his separated daughter. Later, Frankie accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK. The two of them travel to Europe as she continues to win. Maggie eventually saves up enough money of her winnings to buy a house to her mother, but she gives Maggie a hard time for endangering her government aid, claiming that everyone back home is laughing at her.

Frankie is finally willing to arrange a tittle fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas, against the WBA women’s welterweight champion, Billie Osterman, a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as an unpunished dirty fighter. When the fight starts, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but Billie knocks her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the ball ring to end the round. Before Frankie can pull the corner stool out of the way, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.

In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, but they arrive accompanied by an attorney. Their only concern is to transfer Maggie’s assets to them. She orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house and inform the IRS of her mother’s welfare fraud if they ever show their faces again.

As the days pass, Maggie develops bedsores and undergoes an amputation for the infected leg. She asks a favor to Frankie, to help her die, declaring that she got everything she wanted out of life. Frankie refuses, and Maggie later bites her tongue repeatedly in order to bleed to death, but the medical staff saves her and takes measures to prevent further suicide attempts. At the end, Frankie sneaks into the hospital one night, and administers a fatal injection of adrenaline. He never returns to the gym. The last shot of the film shows Frankie sitting at the counter of a diner place where Maggie once took him, and after having the best homemade lemon merengue pie with her, said “Now I can die and go to heaven”.

Positive and negative things about the movie

I liked Maggie’s attitude, effort and perseverance in order to reach her dream. I really liked how much she was practicing and never giving up even people were laughing at her. Lot of people would not believe on her and they would think that she was too old for trying to be professional. Her goal of being a professional boxer was her priority and I liked that she showed a strong personality and confidence on herself. I was also impressed on how dedicated she was after Frankie decided to start coaching her. She was very committed. She was very focused and concentrated on his instructions without never arguing with him. And all the money she earned and saved up always was towards boxing, such as better gloves…

The negative aspect of the movie happened in the final fight. Maggie fought against Billie, a German fighter who had a bad reputation for being unpunished and dirty on fights. Billie knocked her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the ball ringed to end the round and before Frankie could pull the corner stool away, Maggie fell hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. Those violent actions from Billie were cruel and malicious with an intent to injure, and it seemed she wanted revenge since Maggie was dominating the fight firstly.

Something that I did not like about the movie is that all her sacrifice was towards boxing, leaving many important things behind. For example, in this case, Maggie barely had a relationship with her family or friends. Professionals have some restrictions but I do not think is good to cut the family off. Also, I did not like the end of the movie when she tries to commit suicide by saying that “she has already achieved everything she wanted in life” when she was still 34 years old.


Million Dollar Baby is classical in the clean, clear, strong lines of its story and characters and has an enormous emotional impact. However, I would like to suggest a different final where it could have ended with Maggie triumphing once again, perhaps opening a business managing boxers, becoming a coach or an inspirational speaker.



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