Frankie Dunn (played by Clint Eastwood) is a boxing trainer of many years. He now owns a gym but he has very few proteges as his training approach is cautious. In fact, we watch as a fighter with potential leaves his charge in favour of another trainer prepared to take more chances. Maggie Fitzgerald (by Hilary Swank) has been interested in boxing for some time and she calls into the gym hoping to get an opportunity to box seriously. Of course, at first Frankie won’t take Maggie on – he thinks she’s too old and he doesn’t train female boxers! His boxing mate, former fighter and his gym manager, Eddie Dupris (by Morgan Freeman) sees potential in Maggie’s eagerness and ambition and he supports her. Gradually, Frankie reluctantly agrees to help her and Maggie transforms into a successful boxer.
This movie is much more than just another “boxer makes good” story. Once the plot is developed, the movie actually takes quite a significant turn – one least expected by me – which creates a completely different aspect to the characters and the story. These three actors are marvellous – Clint Eastwood plays a vulnerable character, alienated from his only daughter – he is so wonderful here. Hilary Swank is usually good and here she is exceptional,as a girl searching for more than just boxing success and Morgan Freeman is as subtle as ever in his support – very well done. The “mood” is very well captured and depicted throughout.
Once again, this confirms that Clint Eastwood has marvellous talent as a director. The film is beautifully directed, shot impeccably and supported by a great musical score that underscores the humanity in the intensely moving conclusion. Very very good movie.
(Made: Feb 2005)