“Above all, protect yourself!”
Overview: Frankie Dunn is an aging Boxing trainer who moonlights as a manager. Due to things in his past, he’s too cautious, and his boxers keep leaving him because of his conservatism. Maggie is a girl with nothing more than a dream, and a whole lot of persistence. They both have a lot of unresolved baggage from their respective pasts, and through each other they ultimately find redemption.
Noteworthy Actors / Actresses: Clint Eastwood (Frankie), Hilary Swank (Maggie), Morgan Freeman (Eddie)
Homages / Trivia: The movie was based on a collection of short stories by Jerry Boyd, from the book “Rope Burns: Stories from the corner“. The actress that played Billie “The Blue Bear” was Hilary Swank’s trainer.
Verdict: This movie is kind of a boxing movie, but not really. The focus of the movie is really on the dynamics between Frankie (Eastwood) and Maggie (Swank), which becomes more and more evident as the movie goes on. Sure, there’s lots of boxing, training, fighting, knockouts, and tomfoolery, but the allusions to the symbiotic relationship between the trainer and the trainee become more and more apparent. That said, and I really don’t want to have to put any spoilers in here so this is going to seem a bit cryptic — it’s powerful. I think this may be some of Eastwood’s best work ever, both acting and directing, and I thought Unforgiven was AWESOME too. It’s definitely worth seeing, and it definitely deserved all the 5 academy awards it received.
From IMDB: (2004) 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 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, Scrap (Morgan Freeman), an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie’s gym, knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has been seeking, for the past 25 years, the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks into his gym…