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Million Dollar Baby

Year: 2005
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Paul Haggis
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Sweeping the pools at the 2005 Academy Awards, I expected a lot better from Eastwood's latest masterpiece. There seemed either something missing or too much of something (maybe the at-times simplistic humour) in the tale of the trailer trash waitress Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) who dreams of becoming a boxer and harangues aging trainer Frankie (Eastwood) into teaching her until he relents.

Somewhat predictably, he grows to love her, she grows into his fastest-rising champion, and it's the final act where the movie moves right away from boxing and sports where the ultimate declaration of his love shows.

You can't swing a cat without hitting a wise old man (Eastwood chares his gym with the characters of a former champ played by Morgan Freeman), there's plenty of love in the script and there's a fair amount of social comment. I suppose I just expected something a little more sophisticated. Nor is Eastwood's character original; he reminded me exactly of Mickey (Burgess Meredith) from the Rocky films.

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