Deciding which film that I am most thankful for was not an easy decision. There are so many films that I have been fortunate enough to see. However, when this question was first proposed to me, sometimes you have to go with the choice that first comes to mind without any hesitation.
For me, that movie is Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby; a film that in 2004 won best picture, and remains a favorite of mine to this day.
The film is about an under appreciated boxing trainer (Clint Eastwood) and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer (Hilary Swank) achieve her dream of becoming a professional.
Clint Eastwood has been quoted as saying that this film is about “The American Dream” and I couldn’t agree more. Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) is a poor woman who is barely making a life for herself. She always had this dream of being a professional boxer. She finds her way to a run-down Los Angeles gym and meets Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), who has been under appreciated and abandoned by past athletes he has trained. He also has personal demons upon which the story expands on later. He is reluctant to train Maggie at first, but her “never say die” spirit wins him over in the end, and she becomes much more than just another student at his gym. They form a great bond, and it becomes more and more like a father-daughter relationship by the film’s end. There is also a great performance by Morgan Freeman as Eddie “scrap-iron” Dupris. He is an elderly gym assistant who has lost one eye due to his time in the ring. But despite that visual handicap, Eddie “sees” more than just about anyone in the film; serving as the film’s narrator and is often the voice of reason amongst the characters.
Without spoiling this movie, you get amazing boxing scenes, wonderful cinematography that makes valuable use of lighting and shadows to really make each scene intimate and meaningful, a twist in plot that really breaks the rules when it comes to sports films, and an ending that was just as emotional as it was powerful. If you haven’t seen this film, I strongly suggest you keep the tissues handy. It’s pretty heavy stuff when it all comes together.
In closing, what makes me so thankful for this film is that I do feel it truly is a commentary on having a dream, a goal, something you really want in life and doing what you can to reach that goal. It questions how valuable life is when you reach that goal, attempt it but don’t reach it, or even if you never even try. It challenges in a lot of ways what it truly means to live. As someone who is a proponent of accomplishing goals and living out your heart’s desire, this really spoke to me in ways that other films haven’t. For those reasons, I am truly thankful for Million Dollar Baby. It has the highest recommendation from me.
97 Soothing Morgan Freeman narrations out of 100 (97%)