Maggie Fitzgerald, played by Hilary Swank (P.S. I Love You & Insomnia), came from nothing. She knows one thing about herself: she is white trash. She is a waitress at a small diner, making barely enough to live off. She lives in a run down apartment and steals food from work to eat off of. Any extra money she has, she saves to pay her membership fee at Frankie Dunn’s, played by Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino & Rawhide), gym. Frankie Dunn refuses to give her a second look though, telling her repeatedly that he doesn’t train girls. When Eddie Scrap, played by Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me 2 & Se7en), the gym janitor, finds her working out after hours, he takes pity on her and shows her a thing or two. When Dunn’s star boxer walks out on him for a better deal though, he is forced to look to her for a new star. With the new opportunity to fight, will Maggie be able to amount to more than her circumstances? Will Maggie be able to make a career as a star boxer in a man’s sport?
As far as classics goes, this is one of the best, and it’s only a little over a decade old! There is so much good about this film, but let’s just talk about this cast. Wowza! Talk about a loaded cast! Swank had already landed some big films at this point with the Boys Don’t Cry and the Next Karate Kid. They may not all have been big successes, but she had held the lead in several big name movies, accumulating quite a bit of screen time for herself. Add Eastwood who was not only a notable actor since the early 60’s but also a prestigious director and Freeman who is probably one of the most well known actor across multiple generations, this movie never needed to be as great as it was to have people flock to it. All the actors just pull you in right away, engulfing you in a whirlwind of emotions for the whole hour and 12 minutes of footage. The cast won 4 Oscars simply for their abilities alone: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture of the Year. They were also nominated for Best Actor.
The cinematography and editing worked harmoniously in this film. They kept it simple with the filming, shooting quick and clean shots for the scenes, and then they went and made them better with quick cuts, montages, and a variety of shots. This movie presents a beautiful example of how sometimes simpler is better.
The sound design is nothing notable, but it still is worth mentioning due to its lack of notice. While studying film, I was told that the best sound design is the most unnoticed sound. The less you notice it makes it the more notable because it blends in. It sounds exactly like the viewer expects it to sound, and thus is not talked about. So here’s my shout out to the sound designers of this film for the remarkable realistic sound design.
This film has a various array of awards besides the 4 Oscars including several golden globes and AARP along with a AAFCA award. The film has been 81 nominees and 60 wins in its life time. Even with out the awards, this film is one of the Hottest of all time. If you claim to be a film buff, this should be one you have under your list of watched films. This is the perfect example of what a film should be like and what I personally would like to see more of in the coming years.