Baby brings tears |

Baby brings tears

Kimberly Nicoletti

“Million Dollar Baby” doesn’t take cheap shots. And in the end, it’s worth every ounce of emotion you spend watching it.Nominated for a Best Picture of the Year Oscar, this masterfully told story is hard to beat.

It begins with Frankie Dunn’s (Clint Eastwood) best friend narrating the story of Frankie’s life as a boxing trainer. Morgan Freeman not only maintains a steady, nondramatic voice as a narrator but also manages to flesh out his own character as Frankie’s sidekick, who lives in a small bedroom in the gym.Frankie’s best fighter just left him for a more aggressive (read: moneymaking) manager. Enter Maggie (Hilary Swank), a scrappy, trailer-trash waitress bent on pursuing her dream to fight, with Frankie as her trainer. But Frankie says he doesn’t train girls, especially 31-year-olds.At this point, the movie could turn into a new millennium, power-to-women “Rocky,” but it packs a more powerful punch.

Sure, Maggie trains and moves up in the ranks. But the personal relationship between Maggie and Frankie emerges as the true champ.Eastwood, as “coach,” reminds Maggie to breathe as she’s boxing. But more importantly, as director he allows the story itself to breathe, giving all of the characters enough space to inhale, exhale and fully develop their personalities.

Then he hits the audience hard. To say more would be to give away a deep emotional experience, which is “exquisitely rich and sad.” The film avoids easy answers to excessively difficult life-and-death questions, but most importantly, it sidesteps overwrought sentimentality. In the end, it leaves viewers raw with emotion yet somehow full with the tenderness of life.

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