Million Dollar Baby

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Million Dollar Baby Movie Poster Image
Violent Oscar winner is inspiring but too intense for kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 132 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

On the plus side, there's a strong inter-racial friendship between Frankie and Eddie, and a sweet, father-daughter-like bond between Frankie and Maggie. Viewers will be divided on whether Frankie makes the right decision for Maggie in the end, but his dedication to her after she's injured is admirable.

Violence

Brutal boxing matches with graphic and very serious injuries.

Sex

Scantily-clad ring rings and reference to breasts.

Language

Some strong language including the n-word and f-word.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie features brutally realistic fight scenes with graphic injuries. A character becomes paralyzed and asks to be allowed to die. Characters drink and smoke and use some strong language, including the "N" word. There are some mild sexual references and some ugly insults. Some viewers may be unhappy with the portrayal of a priest who uses bad language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 year old Written byrobinpeggy April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

My 18 year old son cried!

When you have 3 children, ages 18, 15 and 11, sometimes that younger one just has to see some movies that are really a little too adult for him. This movie is o... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byFerrets10199 March 28, 2013

Million Dollar Baby

I thought this movie was excellent. Lots of swearing, violent (the theme is boxing), blood. Defiantly needs to be discussed afterwards due to ending.
Teen, 17 years old Written byiiRevieW October 3, 2015

Made me cry amazing not to bad

This movie had some violence boxing violence and people getting beat up. No sex at all. If your child is not disturbed by boxing violence and a little coarse la... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tired old trainer Frankie (Clint Eastwood), abandoned by the prospect he hoped to take to the title bout, meets a scrappy but untrained would-be boxer. He initially refuses to train the kid, but he's won over, at first by the persistence, then by the heart of the young fighter. There's another connection between them, too. Frankie has no family but a long-estranged daughter, and the boxer's father is dead. The bond between them helps to ease both of their losses. One reason the relationship becomes so important to Frankie is that the boxer is a young woman. Maggie (Hillary Swank) gives Frankie the chance to bring all that's best in him to a nurturing relationship with a young woman about the age of his daughter, and Frankie gives Maggie the chance to be a champion.

Is it any good?

At first, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is a fresh, assured, and evocative take on the classic boxing formula. The details of the boxing world and Frankie's relationships with Maggie and with his long-time friend Eddie (Morgan Freeman, who also narrates) are warm and richly observed. Frankie and Eddie have the bickering banter of a longtime married couple, and pros Eastwood and Freeman riff off each other like jazz players who've been jamming for a lifetime. Eastwood is also marvelous with Swank in a performance that's fuller, fonder, and funnier than we've seen from him since the Any Which Way But Loose days. For the first half of the film, the narration, based on F.X. Toole's superb book and beautifully read by Freeman, is so vivid we can smell sweat and adrenaline.

Too bad Million Dollar Baby takes those great performances and throws some cliched sports metaphors their way. And when tragedy strikes, Frankie and Maggie have to make some tough choices. So does director Eastwood, and he makes the wrong ones, going for the manipulative and the maudlin, everyone lining up as either saintly or unredeemably awful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes someone want to be a fighter. What does it mean to say that "everything in boxing is backward" and "sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back?" How does that relate to the way the characters behave? Why does Frankie argue with the priest about theology? Do you agree with the sign in the gym that says "Winners are simply willing to do what losers won't?" What is it that winners are willing to do? How is the number one rule -- "protect yourself" -- applied by Frankie? By Maggie? By Eddie? Why did Maggie turn out so differently from her brother and sister? Families may also want to talk about Maggie's request and Frankie's decision.

Movie details

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