Not what I expected it to be. Clint`s movies are always very stylish and polished. Every single frame has a meaning and the whole movie feels very composed and liquid-like.
—copy-paste from the movie`s website—
Frankie Dunn (CLINT EASTWOOD) has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules his life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend is Scrap (MORGAN FREEMAN), an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie’s gym and knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has attended Mass almost every day for the past 23 years, seeking the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him.
Then Maggie Fitzgerald (HILARY SWANK) walks into his gym.
Maggie’s never had much, but there is one thing she does have that very few people in this world ever do: she knows what she wants and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get it. In a life of constant struggle, Maggie’s gotten herself this far on raw talent, unshakable focus and a tremendous force of will. But more than anything, what she wants is for someone to believe in her.
The last thing Frankie needs is that kind of responsibility – let alone that kind of risk. He tells Maggie the blunt hard truth: she’s too old and he doesn’t train girls. But ‘no’ has little meaning when you have no other choice. Unwilling or unable to give up on her life’s ambition, Maggie wears herself to the bone at the gym every day, encouraged only by Scrap. Finally won over by Maggie’s sheer determination, Frankie begrudgingly agrees to take her on.
In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. What they don’t know is that soon they will both face a battle that’s going to demand more heart and courage than any they’ve ever known.
—copy-paste from the movie`s website—
Clint is one of the best directors around. No matter the genre of the movie, he always manages to leave his signature on the material. This story is actually a comedy-love-drama. You can clearly see, why he got an oscar for best movie of the year. All the key ingredients are there. But still Clint manages to avoid almost every cliche of the trade, putting together laughter and tears, tragedy and comedy in a neat and creative fashion. The dialogues are down to earth and real, the characters (although fictional) are well-composed and balanced and there are no good and bad guys. They all have ghosts, they all have moments of fame and they are all living the life as it is. On a daily basis.
The issue of the movie is how does one perceives life. How does one tackle with the obstacles that stand in its way and what exactly life really is about? Random events? Hero work? Trying to forget the past and live the present and the future? All of the characters are dealing with problems, Frankie and his broken-up family, Scraps and his wish to fight his one last fight (which he does — one of the best segments of the movie) or Maggie, trying to make something out of herself and prove herself that she in fact can do things she sets out to do.
In the beginning, she is the dreamer and Frankie is the realist. In the end, the roles change and she looks at the situation with reason, while Frankie is clutching on straws. “I fought my way into this world…don`t let me fight my way out of it” says Maggie, paralysed from the neck down while convincing Frankie to pull the plug on her.
She plays the hero and when the hero does his/her deed, there`s no other reason for her/his exsistence. There is not anything else for our hero to achive. To conquer. To win over. Death seems like the next logical step.
The problem is, heroes are almost never alone in their fight. They always have somebody beside them who helps them and pushes them forward. And in the end, they always drag those persons down with them. Heroes are selfish. They want things. They see the goal, but not the people who helped them get there. In order to be a hero, you have to stop being human.
there is this one scene, where after a fight maggie wins, she and Scraps are sitting in a restaurant eating and she asks him “Will that girl be ok?” and Scraps logical answer is “Does it matter?” . It proves the absence of human nature in heroes and it shows that the second you start thinking “human”, the hero part goes away.
The movie is good. Heavy, but good. Clint Eastwood uses the boxing and the fights as an allegory of life. “Always take care of yourself” is the theme that chimes throughout the whole movie. It`s very balanced and very composed (as said in the beginning) and the oscars hit the mark this year. Not that it matters, but it`s still a sign that the academy did not loose their taste completely.