'Million Dollar Baby'
(Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter / PG-13 / 96 mins / Warner Bros.)
Overview: A retired boxer named Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) runs a gym in Los Angeles with another former fighter (Morgan Freeman). Dunn's still troubled by his painful estrangement from his daughter, and he's surprised when a female boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), walks into his gym and asks him to train her.
Verdict: Luckily for all concerned, including fans of boxing and the great man Eastwood alike, 'Million Dollar Baby' turns out to be a movie of tough excitement, surprise, even grace! At times a knockout punch of shattering force, I am happy to announce that the film is a vitual masterpiece - pure and simple, deep and true. Hilary Swank is astonishing as Maggie. Every note is true. She reduces Maggie to a fierce intensity. Consider the scene where she and Scrap (Morgan Freeman) sit at a lunch counter, and Scrap tells how he lost the sight in one eye, how Frankie (Eastwood) blames himself for not throwing in the towel. It is an important scene for Freeman, but I want you to observe how Swank has Maggie do absolutely nothing but listen. No "reactions," no little nods, no body language except perfect stillness, deep attention and an unwavering gaze. 'Million Dollar Baby' is easily one of the best films of 2005 so far!!