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Released a little over a year after the grand success of his Oscar-winning feature MYSTIC RIVER, Clint Eastwood returns to the director's chair for MILLION DOLLAR BABY. Eastwood also stars, in the role of Frankie Dunn, a down-on-his-luck former boxing manager who spends the twilight years of his life running a small, dilapidated gym in downtown Los Angeles. Frankie's previous career was blighted by an injury to one of his prize fighters, Scrap (Morgan Freeman), who lost the sight in his right eye during a particularly brutal bout; Scrap now wiles away the hours working as a cleaner in Frankie's gym. Wary of similar occurrences being inflicted on the prestigious young talent that passes before him, Frankie lets a succession of great boxers slip through his fingers. But when the brash, confident young boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) strides into the gym, Frankie's life is irretrievably altered. Initially refusing to train Maggie due to her gender and age, Frankie relents when faced with her tenacity, spirit, and burning ambition. The combination of Maggie's talent and Frankie's tutelage paves the way for the adroit fighter to rise steadily through the ranks of women's boxing, with the unlikely coupling forming a genuinely touching bond in the process.Clint Eastwood has crafted a boxing film fit to stand alongside classics such as RAGING BULL and ROCKY with MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The scenes between Eastwood and Freeman are a delight to watch, with the two old hands pulling off masterfully understated performances as a couple of men teetering on the brink of failure. Likewise, Swank puts in a powerful turn as Maggie, further emphasizing her penchant for unusual roles, and perhaps even bettering her incredible, Oscar-winning showing as Teena Brandon in BOYS DON'T CRY.
Number of Discs: 2
Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
Film Country: USA
Display Format: Widescreen
"[T]he best movie released by a major Hollywood studio this year....It is a quiet, intimately scaled three-person drama directed in a patient, easygoing style..."
New York Times - A. O. Scott (12/15/2004)
"[T]he director's most touching, most elegiac work yet....It's got some of the emotional daring of the great melodramas of Hollywood's golden age..."
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan (12/15/2004)
"[A] grim knockout of a boxing movie with multiple jolts....Eastwood directs and stars in one of his top performances..."
USA Today - Mike Clark (12/15/2004)
"The chemistry between Eastwood and Swank is touching and spiky and true. It is also gently, unstatedly romantic."
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman (12/24/2004)
"[A] stunningly drawn map of the human heart disguised as a boxing yarn....[Eastwood's] stripped -down performance -- as powerful as anything he's ever done -- has a rugged, haunting beauty. The same goes for the movie."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (12/30/2004)
"[A] remarkably appealing success story full of heart and humor and poignancy, with Swank as winning as she's ever been."
Premiere - Glenn Kenny (02/01/2005)
"When this heroic underdog fable turns really dark, its grip strengthens yet further, Noble, savage and brave."
Uncut - Chris Roberts (02/01/2005)
"The washed-out colour photography, the seedy urban locations, the peripheral low-life characters all give the film a pleasingly noir feel."
Sight and Sound - Edward Buscombe (03/01/2005)
Ranked #4 in Uncut's Best Films Of 2005 -- "[A] powerful and provocative boxing movie which deservedly won the main prizes at this year's Oscars."
Uncut - Uncut Staff (01/01/2006)
"The Tom Stern cinematography captures striking shots, some of which are highly contrasted or in silhouette, and heighten the emotion during pivotal moments throughout the film."
Widescreen Review - Widescreen Review Staff (06/01/2006)