MILLION DOLLAR BABY
hopscotchee: hillary swank score: 54 rating: pg-13 time: 133 minutes
if you just saw the score - don't panic. for those out there who bow down to this movie or have some weird fascination for whatever clint eastwood brings to the table - besides awful, high-waisted grandpa pants - we have our reasonings for this scoring, but if you still disagree, we are not trying to convince you, and you can go on your marry way (with a thank you from us for reading this review). now let's begin!!
sweeping house at the 2005 oscars, winning for best picture, best performance by an actress in a leading role (hillary swank, obvi, obvi), best performance by an actor in a supporting role (morgan freeman), and best achievement in directing (clint eastwood), million dollar baby became the spotlight of the year for morally complex tales. however, even if you were more busy jamming out to bad day by daniel powter, dirty little secret by the all-american rejects, or best of you by the foo fighters - jeez, the '05s really did give us a great set of tunes - and you didn't watch the oscars, you probably still got the gist that this was one revered movie. and in all honesty, we were not fully coherent then to understand or recognize this hype (aka we were only wee bitty babes), so, we couldn't fully say now that this movie is unlikeable or take away from its popularity back then. nonetheless, in today's light, this movie is more than flawed, highlighting the worst themes and questioning the societal acceptances of the musically-gifted time of the '05s.
now, although when it released, this movie receive critical acclaim for its portrayal of a new role for women, this movie represented, if at all, a very limited focus on feminism. like how old disney shows would craft one character's personality around how their lead female was a 'tom boy', because she didn't like to wear dresses or if she didn't want to do what 'the popular girls wanted' (*cough, cough* the princess protection program), this movie's new role for women was based off of hillary swank's character, maggie, being the only chick who wanted to box. though, uncommonly seen in films in the early 2000s, the movie's tragic twist, (spoiler) with maggie getting injured and ultimately dying, eliminates the purpose of this entirely!! so sure hillary swank represented female boxers and portrayed a 'new role for women', but they're also just going to make this movie end grievously, so that this role doesn't look too appealing (like, look at this groundbreaking character, but does it really work out for them - hashtag male societal reality check). plus with clint eastwood's character fueled by a script with misogynistic dialogue and male dominance complexes, million dollar baby just surrounds hillary swank's character (spoiler) coming from nothing, working her butt off to prove herself to some dumb ass, white man (clint eastwood) - who didn't even want her working out at his gym in the first place - and then dies!! by the dumb ass, white man no less!! the symbolism here is not lining up and is sure 100% not a female empowerment movie. so to whoever said this movie was groundbreaking based off of the fact that their was a girl who wanted to box, they better check again, because that might have be okaysies in the early '00s, but you got to try harder than that. hashtag big scoff!!
but (spoiler) speaking about her death at the end, specifically its purpose to the story alone, it was a tad unexpected - but not in a good way. like, what's the point? yeah, it was sad, and, like we've said she comes from nothing, works her butt off to prove herself to some dumb ass white man, then dies. but what's the thing? with this clear defeat at the end, that cancels out the possibility of it being a 'ra-ra, win movie', there's no symbolism or bigger meaning for the ending. and don't try to spin this into a surrogate father-daughter figure shiz, because we here at twinsaf have much higher standards than that. so, basically, going back to the plot twist, it isn't a twist more of a drop. a literal thud in the movie that just kinda happens. in other words, instead of being like 'oh crap that just happened', it felt like 'wow, that was a jump, what's gonna happen now?' and it just felt purposeless.
another thing that was purposeless were the voice overs - ugh! the voice overs! we couldn't help but notice how so early 2000s they were, but they were kinda cheesy. they didn't help the story feel authentic and especially because it is morgan freeman's very recognizable voice; a voice that has been used to push products and advice in several commercials. simply, it killed the vibe and made it feel like you were watching a old '00s movie. (but that's more of a sidenote, not a full critique, because voice overs in general are time sensitive and hard to preserve).
lastly, the biggest offense with this movie that should be publicized more often is the alarming message that it sends to its viewers. after (spoiler) maggie is paralyzed and can no longer live a life dedicated to boxing, she sees that there is no reason to live. this only sends the dangerous thought that not living at all is better than living with a disability - and that's not true!! movies (better movies) such as wonder, the theory of everything, or miracle run with young zefron show and inspire hope and perseverance. so, despite million dollar baby's sport theme, and the fact that most sport movies reveal triumph, this one should not be revered the way it is, because of its lack of positivity and its insensitivity.
(if you want to know more about this concern, hear from the disability rights education & defense fund aka DREDF in the link : https://dredf.org/2005/02/13/million-dollar-baby-built-on-prejudice-about-people-with-disabilities/ )
so, see it the same as us or see it the same as you did, million dollar baby will continue to be looked back on as that movie for its acclaim and surprise oscar sweep. but if it were us, and you had this insulting and demoralizing tragedy in front of you, stop and go revive the '05s with some daniel powter, the all-american rejects, foo fighters, or any of the great hits of that era.
-- thanks, hillary xo