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Million Dollar Baby (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
||Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Joe D'Angerio, Morgan Eastwood|
||Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen|
||English, Spanish, French|
|Number of Discs:
||Warner Home Video|
|DVD Release Date:
||July 12, 2005|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 671 reviews|
|Used and New:|
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Average Customer Review:
( 671 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
338 of 393 found the following review helpful:
Powerful, believable performances fuel this moving filmDec 25, 2004
By Jonathan Appleseed
Hillary Swank (Margaret Fitzgerald), who proved her athleticism in her first major role, The Next Karate Kid, demonstrated it again, pummeling a heavy bag with a power left on which I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. She's very convincing in this movie - both as a young woman from humble beginnings who wants to make a better life for herself, and as a boxer. In Million Dollar Baby, she returns to the visceral emotional range that left us so deeply moved in Boy's Don't Cry.
Clint Eastwood (Frankie Dunn), who has proved himself repeatedly, has perhaps turned in the best performance of his career. At times irascible, intellectual, mournful, instructive, reflective, passionate - in every manifestation, he reaches you. He was brilliant.
And Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman. As the narrator of the story, and an actor within it, he lends a soft-spoken touch that ameliorates some of the film's darker elements. He also lent the film a certain amount of boxing sagacity, as he spoke in non-technical and sometimes quasi-technical terms of the basics of boxing.
This film ain't no Rocky. It has an intelligence and compassion that Rocky (and virtually every boxing film ever made, save perhaps Raging Bull) couldn't think to have. Beyond that, it actually has better fight sequences. More often than in most boxing films - certainly the very poor choreography of the Rocky fight sequences - the punches looked and felt real, or as real as "fake" can make them.
Margaret introduces herself to Frankie after a fight and asks him to train her. He turns her down flat, saying that he doesn't train girls. Given her pluckiness, she appears at his gym the next day, punching a heavy bag with all of the skill, style and fluidity of Pinocchio. Finally he agrees to train her ("finally" takes a while, and watching it come to fruition, the subtle changes in Eastwood's character, is a real treat to watch), and soon she is ready for her first fight.
Here's the only similarity to Rocky: she turns out to be a natural, with a wicked left hook and overhand right (at least that I could see) and is knocking out all of her opponents in the first round. Some might think that this is, perhaps, a bit much. However, in the sport of women's boxing, such a thing isn't uncommon. PLEASE don't think that I'm saying women are not good boxers or don't have the same abilities that men do. It's simply that the increasing popularity of the sport hasn't quite yet led to the kind of talent that exists in men's boxing (although, frankly, talent on that side isn't exactly at it's apex). Her superiority over lesser opponents isn't unheard of.
There's so much more I want to say about this film, because from this point forward it moved from being one of the best films of the year - purely on the strength of the writing, and the performances of Swank and Eastwood in particular - to one of the best films I've seen in several years. I'm so grateful that reviewers didn't give away the ending. I'll just say that the ending is layered with surprises, and that it's been a very, very long time that I haven't seen a single cell phone being used (how annoying is that, even with all of the polite requests and warnings?), and also seen so many in the theater remain in their seats long after the movie ended.
It's a brilliant, brilliant film, the kind that makes me want to go back and change the number of stars I've given most movies that I've reviewed, simply so that this 5 star review means more. I recently gave Sideways, Closer, and Finding Neverland 5 stars, and while they are all very, very worthy films - I'd like to give this one six.
144 of 184 found the following review helpful:
6 Stars: Maggie MayJan 09, 2005
By MICHAEL ACUNA
Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is "the best cut man in the business' intones the narrator, Morgan Freeman in "Million Dollar Baby." Frankie can clean up a cut in seconds so that a fighter can get back in the ring and at the very least finish the fight and at best, win.
Yet Frankie can't heal the emotional wounds of his life even though he spends 365 days a year at Mass and writes letters to his estranged daughter every day asking for, I assume forgiveness. But the letters come back marked "Return to Sender" and Frankie files them away in a box and his life returns to the needs and wants of his Gym for Boxers and to his best friend, confidant and former fighter, Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman).
And then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into Frankie's Gym, pays her Gym dues for six months and asks Frankie every day to train her. And everyday he turns her down: "you're too old, too skinny...and you're a girl," he says.
Until one day she wears him down, he concedes to her wishes and there begins a Cinderella story of fights won, money earned and glory attained. And then it's all taken away.
Eastwood has made some great, even unforgettable films: "The Unforgiven, "Bird" to name a couple. But he has done nothing to match the guts, emotional power and poignancy of "Million Dollar Baby." And Hillary Swank, pretty much floundering after "Boys Don't Cry," is as sunny, thoughtful and real as she's ever been.
There is a scene towards the end of "MDB" between Frankie and Maggie in which Frankie explains the meaning of a Gaelic nickname that he has given Maggie that grabs at your heart and is so beautifully realized that you are galvanized with emotion. It's so real and so true to the tone of the film that you can't help but gasp.
"Million Dollar Baby" is Eastwood at his most emotionally aware and naked. This film comes from the deepest areas of Eastwood's heart and soul. It is a brave and honest film from one of the best purveyors of our Hopes and Dreams.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
An old-fashioned melodrama, extraordinarily well-done.Jan 30, 2005
By Miles D. Moore
Despite the insistence of some critics that "Million Dollar Baby" is a notably fresh, surprising and original movie, don't believe it. It's an old-fashioned, five-hanky, melodramatic weeper, basically notable for the way that screenwriter Paul Haggis and director-star Clint Eastwood graft one familiar plot onto another to change the movie's direction, abruptly and completely, about two-thirds of the way through. (It's no fair to say precisely what they do, or how they do it; but if you know what people generally do in boxing rings, it isn't a particularly surprising plot twist.) But if you've seen both stories before, seldom have you seen either story done with such conviction, polish, and restrained yet powerful emotion. Eastwood, one of Hollywood's smoothest old pros, milks every scene for maximum impact, and gets marvelous chiaroscuro effects out of cinematographer Tom Stern as well as believably grungy, gritty sets from production designer Henry Bumstead. Eastwood's also at the top of his game as an actor here; his scenes with another great old pro, Morgan Freeman, are wonderful to watch, like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus matching each other shot for shot on the back nine. Haggis gives Eastwood and Freeman sharp, incisive dialogue that is fully worthy of their artistry. But the standout here is Hilary Swank, who proves beyond doubt that her mesmerizing, Oscar-winning performance in "Boys Don't Cry" was no fluke. In a role that makes both extreme physical and emotional demands, Swank creates one of the most heartrending, lovably three-dimensional heroines in recent movie history.
13 of 16 found the following review helpful:
Million Dollar MovieFeb 16, 2005
By Sean M. Sullivan
Like others, I went into this movie knowing the basics. Clint Eastwood trains Hilary Swank to be a professional boxer. I only saw this movie because it is nominated in the Best Picture category, among others, & I felt to need to see it. I went into this movie with no expectations. I really thought I would think it was ok. Well, it FAR surpassed my expectations. After seeing this movie, I can finally understand what all the hype is about it! If you havent seen it, GO NOW! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Million Dollar Baby is a little bit of everything. A little drama, a little comedy & alot of heart tugging moments. I'm not going to give away the ending. .. that's for you guys to go see for yourselves. I will say however, that it will be money well worth spent. I have seen all 5 nominated films & I will be pulling for this Million Dollar Movie to take home the Best Picture Oscar!
7 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Million Dollar Baby is rich in emotionJan 23, 2005
By C. Tsao
Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort, Million Dollar Baby, is a drama that starts in the boxing ring and ends in the heart. It is a poignant tale about hope, failure, and old ghosts. It is also the best film Eastwood has ever made.
Frankie Dunn is an aging owner of a boxing gym who trains a boxer to the brink of a title fight only to miss a timely opportunity. When an aspiring female boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), approaches him for training, he rebuffs her as just a girl boxer and too old at 31 years. Maggie is a waitress whose desire to fight is her ultimate dream as she attempts to make something of her life that has been a rural, backwoods existence. Dunn's best friend, Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman), takes a liking to the boxer's heart and work ethic, and eventually the two win Frankie over. Frankie's rules are to never question him in training and to always protect oneself in the ring. A slow but gradual learning curve ensues as Maggie becomes a polished boxer who displays a stunning record of wins, mostly by knockouts. Meanwhile, Frankie takes a liking to his protégé and begins to become attached to her. Their relationship is a contrast to his personal demons. His soul struggles with doubt and guilt as he attends church with constant regularity and the letters he sends to his estranged daughter are always returned unopened.
Maggie becomes the focal point of Frankie's world as she attracts boxing matches from top competition which leads to a possible championship in Las Vegas. It is at this point that the story takes a path that is unexpected and startling. It is here that two lives are changed forever and boxing seems trivial in light of subsequent events. And it is here that hard choices and decisions are made.
Based on a group of stories by the late F. X. Toole, Paul Haggis's screenplay is a beauty, filled with memorable dialogue and a story arc that takes its audience on a journey of humanity. The leading cast makes the most of the material. The scenes between Eastwood and Freeman ring true and validate two characters that go way back. Most actors pale in comparison to these two consummate pros at the height of their powers. Morgan Freeman, whose character narrates the story much as he did in Shawshank Redemption, lends strong support. Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar in Boys Don't Cry, is outstanding in a role which required rigorous training while etching a vivid character whose life takes a dramatic shift. Eastwood has always been a solid director and producer. While his early films took advantage of his tough guy image and did not require much thespian range, he filled those roles quite successfully. In recent years, he has grown as director and as a performer by allowing himself some choice dramatic projects (Unforgiven and Bridges of Madison County). But this is without a doubt his greatest piece of acting. He has allowed himself to let go and get to his inner self, and the results are touching and impressive.
As a director, Eastwood has proven with films like Unforgiven and Mystic River that he has a strong, disciplined vision. His work here is most assured and it is very evident that he has matched if not surpassed his previous highs. He is patient and methodical in how he adds layers upon layers of dialogue and scenes to develop his characters into full blooded people. When Maggie approaches Frankie at first, he has no interest in training her, but you know these two will somehow end up working together. Eastwood does not go for easy clichés as she tries to win him over with help from Eddie. Even when he uses tried and true formulas, he does them well. And when Frankie decides to give her a chance, the journey is earned believably. Eastwood's direction is economic and lean. In fact, the pacing is deliberate and there is really no extraneous material (as in earlier good efforts like The Outlaw Josie Wales) to cut or trim. It may be the best job of directing this past year.
Technical categories are strong particularly in cinematography with the darkly lit scenes that add so much to the mood and texture of the moment, and the editing which lends much urgency to the fights and offers unique transitions in the dramatic scenes. (It is interesting that as Maggie ascends to bigger fight venues, the crowds are more affluent and better dressed by the costume department.) Eastwood does a pretty good job of composing some eloquent music. What a multitalented threat he is becoming!
There is not much to quibble with this film. Sure, Maggie's white trash family is a bit too stereotypical and one dimensional. We don't get to the bottom of Frankie's family background as much as we'd like. Some of the fights are bloody and violent but not particularly gratuitous or self serving as in Raging Bull.
What ostensibly starts out as a pretty darn good boxing story becomes transformed into a powerful human drama that eschews even its fighting pedigree. Boxing is just a pretext for a much larger canvas. There is the drama of individual struggle and achievement, yet the story aims much higher and raises the ante in tone and direction in ways the audience can't quite anticipate. Eastwood challenges himself and the audience with a story that is not easy and pat. It is a movie that dares to go to areas that are controversial and gut wrenching. While audiences may have a tough time sitting through Million Dollar Baby a second or third time, they sure as hell will be grateful they did just once.
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