A subtle champion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 12:00am

Unlike Martin Scorsese's The Aviator that screams out for an Oscar with its flamboyance, Clint Eastwood's Oscar champion Million Dollar Baby is a subtle and moving picture.

Morgan Freeman, who plays the character Eddie, provides the voiceover that helps to narrate this uplifting yet also heart-breaking tale of his long-time friend Frankie (Eastwood) and his boxing protege Maggie (Hilary Swank).

Maggie is an uneducated nobody who tries to make a name in boxing - the sport of her dreams. Frankie, who has lost contact with his daughter, is a boxing trainer who owns a gym. The gym is managed by Eddie, a former boxer who lost sight in one eye in a match years ago.

These three main characters are basically losers, professionally and in life. Even if they succeed, their happiness is cut short by fate.

Eastwood, Swank and Freeman - all wonderful performers - are capable of touching you with just a slight change in expression or gesture. And as director, Eastwood portrays his characters in a light and humorous tone - a style that renders the ending even more heartbreaking.

Million Dollar Baby is about accepting a tragic life and living it to the fullest. It will be tragic if you miss it on the big screen.