Swank + Eastwood * Freeman = Oscar

I attended a media screening for Million Dollar Baby last night and was absolutely blown away. It's rare to see a movie which brought out so many emotions. It brought out so many emotions you could barely keep up. The chemistry between Freeman and Eastwood (two real-life friends, and it shows) makes for some strikingly hilarious moments, in a movie that isn't billed as a comedy. The story of Swank's rags-to-riches character will lift your spirit, even if you're not a fan of boxing (and I am not). But most importantly, the movie expresses a deep emotion of sadness and regret that will haunt you, even after you've left the theatre. Swank, Eastwood and Freeman all excelled in their roles, but Swank in particular, as a championship calibur boxer who experiences downfall at the height of her career, shines like few before her. I've always been a fan of her work, but she is capable of showing world's of emotion through simple facial expressions.

Perhaps I've talked the movie up too much, but the ratings at Rotten Tomatoes seem to back me up. Roger Ebert summed it up as well as I ever could:

Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" is a masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true. It tells the story of an aging fight trainer and a hillbilly girl who thinks she can be a boxer. It is narrated by a former boxer who is the trainer's best friend. But it's not a boxing movie. It is a movie about a boxer. What else it is, all it is, how deep it goes, what emotional power it contains, I cannot suggest in this review, because I will not spoil the experience of following this story into the deepest secrets of life and death. This is the best film of the year.

...Movies are so often made of effects and sensation these days. This one is made of three people and how their actions grow out of who they are and why. Nothing else. But isn't that everything?

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