Million Dollar Baby (2004) Review

Maggie Fitzgerald has always dreamed about boxing, she eventually follows her dream and wants Frankie Dunn to train her and become a professional fighter.


I do not really know where exactly to start with this review, as this is my all time favorite film. It has been from the very first time that I saw it and was just amazed by the acting, the story and just the whole film in general. I also must admit that before this I had not seen very much of Clint Eastwood’s work (yes I know that was very bad, but that was 5 years ago now).

A sports movie about a female who is aspiring to become a boxer, but a few things are standing in her way, she is getting older, she has never been trained before, she has no trainer and she has no money. Her name is Maggie (Hilary Swank). She goes to watch boxing matches, and approaches Frankie (Clint Eastwood) and asks him to train her, but he just tells her “I don’t train girls”.  Maggie is very persistent and keeps asking him, but then starts trying to train herself. Eddie (Morgan Freeman) helps Maggie by showing her some techniques. Then not long after this Maggie manages to convince Frankie to train her, but he is adamant that he will just train her then find her a manager to take her on. Which he eventually does become her manager, and really wants her to do well and helps her out so much. It really is just fantastic. She actually starts to get quite a bit of money, and puts all towards a house. Which she then buys for her family, which they do not want it. Her family are really just horrible to her. In a match for $1 million with Blue Bear, an accident happens which leaves Maggie paralyzed from the neck down. She pleads with Frankie to switch of the machine as she really cannot live like that at all. Because she cannot do anything for herself.

I have always been involved in sport and always played a sport. I can understand the passion and wanting to perform and participate in the sport. I think that is one of the reasons I really love this movie, because I can understand how she feels wanting to succeed more than anything and that is what she wants to do, no matter what anyone says to her. She really wants to be the best, and achieve something in her life through boxing. The adrenaline rush of doing well and wanting to win, I can understand all of that and really felt for Maggie throughout the movie.

The other part of this movie I really love is the relationship between Maggie and Frankie, which has to be the replacement to Frankie of his daughter that he had not seen for years and that he still writes to all of the time. Also Frankie being a father figure in Maggie’s life as her father died when she was younger. Frankie calls Maggie “Mo Cuishle” which at the end we find out means “My darling, my blood”. I just found this to be a fantastic relationship, after Frankie would not train Maggie to begin with and did not want anything to do with her, but I think that has to be because she reminds him of his daughter.

Clint Eastwood likes to have a few different subject matters in his movies. One being religion and another being a man who is tortured about the way his family life is, this character being played by Eastwood himself. Million Dollar Baby is no different, the conversations between Eastwood and the priest were just hilarious at times.

But overall I just adore this movie so much and it really is my favorite of all time. Which is such a massive statement to make but it is so true. Nothing compares to Million Dollar Baby. It totally deserved all of the Oscars it received.

8 thoughts on “Million Dollar Baby (2004) Review

  1. I really love this film too. I came at from a different point of view to you as I have been a big fan of Eastwood as an actor since I was a kid and as him as a director more recently. I went in to the film expecting it to simply be a sports movie and that would have been good. Whilst other sports have suffered on film boxing often comes out well, there have been lots of great boxing movies, Raging Bull being the best. What we got was so different to what I was expecting. The film is moving along nicely when the accident suddenly happens and it becomes such a different film. You are right to point out the Maggie – Frankie relationship as being key to the film but it goes deeper than that it is the varied characters and the relationships between them that is so good. The thing that makes Eastwood so good as an actor is the economy of his actions, a look or a sneer can be more effective than a line of dialogue. He brings this to the film and the other characters. Notice how Maggie calms down saying less and saying it more eloquently as she becomes more successful.


  2. Thanks for your views from being a big fan of Eastwood. I did get to watch Unforgiven a few months ago and wondered why I had never seen it before, as Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman have the same fantastic chemistry in that as they do MDB.


  3. Their next film is going to be together although sadly Eastwood will only be in the directors chair. It is based on a book about Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar and the rugby world cup in 1995 to which Morgan Freeman owns the film rights. I’m not sure how old you are so if you are old enough to remember this (I can’t believe it was fourteen years ago). Apartheid had officially ended two years before and Mandela became a president a year before but it never seemed real until Mandela handed the world cup to Pienaar. It was one of those rare moments where you had a feeling of hope and that you suddenly realised you had just witnessed an historic event that transcended sport and politics.

    Enough of the history lesson. it’s a Clint Eastwood film staring Morgan Freeman, it will be good!

    I watched unforgiving a couple of months ago for the first time in nearly ten years. It was great. I had forgotten just how good it was. One of my first blogs was about Eastwood as an actor just after seeing Gran Torino, fantastic film by the way:


  4. Oooo yes Gran Torino I really enjoyed Eastwood’s performance I went to the cinema to see it. I dont remember that Mandela/Pienaar and the Rugby World Cup, as I was only 7 at the time.


  5. I thought that may be the case, I’m showing my age (about ten years older than you). It promises to be a good film. I started drafting a blog about Eastwood directed films a few weeks ago. I will get that finished and posted soon.


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