Million Dollar Baby
Sunday, gem, 9.40pm, M (2004)
Like a champion boxer, the Best Picture Oscar winner has all the hallmarks of greatness – grace, ease, heart and a knockout punch. Clint Eastwood plays Frankie Dun n,a cranky boxing trainer scraping out a living running a runlife-long down gym in a Los Angeles back alley, alongside pal Scrap (Morgan Freeman). Their lives are chang ed by the arrival of Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a 31-year-old waitress with trailer-park roots. She has the dogged determination and raw talent to be a prizefighter, even if Frankie is adamant that he doesn’t train “girlies”. Eastwood and Freeman are in vintage form, wholly worthy of their respective Oscars for Best Director and Best Supporting
Actor, but it’s the sight of Swank, her bruised smile, coming out swinging, that really sticks in the mind. She is simply awesome.