Million Dollar Baby [based on book] by F.X. Toole
dir. by Clint Eastwood
Genre: drama, sport
Script: Paul Haggis
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Rated : 2 Stars
The critics have been raving over this film. Don’t know why, I found it overlong, boring and more than a little predictable.
Eastwood stars as a cut-man come boxing manager who has never really hit the big time. He owns a gym; the Hit Pit Gym, which is appears more than a little in need of money. Swank shows up wanting Frankie to train her. He declines, advising her that there are plenty of trainers/managers out there who want to train girls, after all they are the freak of the moment. She doesn’t really argue all that much, but she doesn’t go away either. Eventually Dupris gives her a couple of pointers, and finally, despite the fact that she is too old Dubb gives in.
Well you can see what happens can’t you?
I certainly could. Fitzgerald has talent, and heaps of it. With training she becomes a winner.
And to give away anything else would be to spoil the film. So I won’t.
What I will say is that I found the entire film predictable. And overloaded with boxing film cliches. Everything that can happen in a boxing movie happens here, and a whole heap of it is overly sentimental, designed not to tug on heart-strings, but to yank and drag at them.
There is also a weird sense that this film should have been set 20 years ago or so. I know that it as based on a collection of stories from an actual cut-man, so maybe that is where the slightly dated atmosphere comes in. Wherever it originated, it doesn’t work. And then of course there is Fitzgerald’s family. Can you say stereotypical white trash? None of them have a redeeming feature, not that they have much of a character either though.
What can I say about the use of Gaelic…
I’ll come clean and say that I hate that word, Gaelic always strikes me as being American-Oirish. I know that it is the technical term, and that Scots Gaelic is perfectly acceptable, but we get taught Irish, or Gaeilge, not Gaelic. So that’s the first problem, the second? That’s be reading Yeats in Irish!! I mean what was that all about. I won’t even go into the fact that Eastwood’s accent makes him sound as though he was speaking some sort of Klingon language. But to have a boxing crowd chant “Mo Cuisle” is just plain ridiculous. It means Pulse of My Heart. My heartbeat. A lover’s phrase, not a father’s, and not something to be shouting at someone trying to batter the hell out of someone else. If that was based on a real nickname, it was a really, really crapy nickname. If it was something that was made up for the film it was even worse.
Personally I wouldn’t rate this a half-dollar baby