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Million Dollar Baby - Blu-ray DVD / drama DVD / Academy Award-winning DVD / Oscar-winning DVD review
MILLION DOLLAR BABY Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel
Director: Clint Eastwood   Studio: Warner
DVD release: 14 November 2006   Runtime: 132 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), 1080p/VC-1 (480p/i/MPEG-2 - supplements only), James Lipton Takes on Three: Roundtable with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and moderator James Lipton, Born to Fight: A discussion with real-life boxer/actress Lucia Rijker, Producers Round 15: Behind the scenes

It's obvious that Clint Eastwood is a tremendous talent. Some might know him from those spaghetti Westerns or later on as the tough-talking "Dirty" Harry Callahan, but his directorial skills over the last few years have clearly eclipsed anything else he has done onscreen (although in this film Eastwood does deliver a very strong performance).

Based on a short story by F.X. Toole and adapted to the screen by Paul Haggis, Million Dollar Baby stars Clint Eastwood as aging boxing trainer (and owner of the Hit Pit gym) Frankie Dunn, who has a non-existent relationship with his daughter. Enter Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a poor girl from a trailer park who has moved to Los Angeles to chase her dream. Fitzgerald has nothing to lose and not much to go back home to, so she is persistent in asking Dunn to train her. Dunn is adamant about not training women. Eventually, though, Fitzgerald wins him over and Dunn reluctantly decides to train her.

I would assume most people who went to the theater were expecting some sort of half-baked female Rocky-type plot where the underdog overcomes all odds to win the title. The boxing is actually almost ancillary to the human drama that unfolds throughout this movie. It's probably the reason why Clint Eastwood won an Oscar for directing, Hilary Swank won an Oscar for female lead, and why the vastly underrated Morgan Freeman finally got his Oscar for best supporting actor. Everyone in this film is absolutely perfect in their roles, even the minute or two you see of Fitzgerald's trailer-park family on screen.

The three-disc collector's edition DVD contains a behind-the-scenes featurette; "Born to Fight," which examines the parallels of the movie to real-life boxer Lucia Rijker; "James Lipton Takes On Three," a 25-minute roundtable with Eastwood, Freeman, Swank; and subtitles in French, English, and Spanish. Overall, Million Dollar Baby is a powerful and moving film that leaves you with a punch to the gut - and that's a compliment.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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