Today is June 3rd, which means that the first fixture of the British and Irish Lions 2017 Tour of New Zealand is happening at some point. And, as promised, to coincide with the tour, myself and Josh from Reffing Movies are hosting a certain Play To The Whistle Blogathon that also commences today.
To kick things off, we have the first of two reviews from Anand from the For The Love Of Movies blog. Thank you very much Anand for your contrbution! Ladies and gentlemen – here is their review of Million Dollar Baby…
Million Dollar is two movies emulsified into one, one is a sports movie and the other is a drama. Many movies have attempted this transition and failed miserably, but the skillful hands of Clint Eastwood never errs. As I am writing about this movie, I should warn you my dear friend, that if I spoil any of this movie for you, I ask for your apology beforehand. You see, I won’t get a sound sleep if I do a half-assed job at describing one of the greatest movies I have ever seen in my life. So, my apologies.
Million Dollar Baby dives head-first into a world of cliches with its familiar settings. You have the obsessed natural fighter, the gruff old trainer who is at loss after a betrayal and the likeable nobody. However, Paul Haggis’ screenplay circumscribes you from being skeptical about it from the first dialogue. Morgan Freeman’s rusty and soothing voice belts out some of the finest, if not THE finest dialogues written for any sports movie. It paints a picture from just plain words.
As the movie progresses, it takes you with it, completely enchanted. There, I found myself, cheering for Maggie with all my heart, with love I couldn’t even muster for my best friends when they competed in those inter-school football matches. I rarely root for a protagonist, but when I do, I do it with all my heart. In Million Dollar Baby, there was a brief moment where I felt to pay for an injury Maggie sustains after a fight. One of my favorite film critics, Mark Hobin once said ‘At its apex, the medium of film can capture a situation so perfectly that it goes beyond mere entertainment and matures into a reflection on the human experience. A presentation of characters so authentic and so raw that you forget that you’re sitting in a theater watching a movie, but have wandered into a circle of people and are now eavesdropping on their lives.’ That’s what Million Dollar Baby did to me. It blurred all lines of fiction.
The second half is probably one of the most depressing cinema ever filmed. It left me inconsolably sobbing. I wish film-schools make Million Dollar Baby a mandatory cinema for study. I wish all the aspiring film-makers and screenplay writers learn how to inundate the audience with a bond so powerful between characters that the film-going experience translates into a life changing one. When I was set to watch Million Dollar Baby, I expected to take a thing or two from it back home when it ended and make a good case for why Hotel Rwanda would have been a better choice for Best Picture, instead I found myself proclaiming it as one of the greatest movies ever made, and taking away the whole meaning of life itself when it ended. This is why I go to the movies.
(Hilary Swank trained 5 hours per day for this movie which resulted in her winding up with a potentially life-threatening staphylococcus infection. She chose not to tell Eastwood about this because she thought it would be out of character for Maggie. Just thought you should know, that real actors do exist, who live and breathe their art)