So we went yesterday afternoon to see Million Dollar Baby , which both my gf and I thought was fantastic. Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood are both really powerful -- alone and together. The film manages to reference some of the standard sports narratives -- the underdog story, the athelete-coach relationship, the tough coach with heart of gold -- but doesn't fall into any of the usual traps. The substance of this film is so much more complicated and interesting.
Without giving away too much, I think I can say that I found the film really interesting in the way it treats embodiment. This one doesn't take for granted the skills or physical structure of its protagonist as she learns to box. Ultimately, the existential questions that the film probes are about choices, about life trajectories, about finding & creating new families, and about how you live in your body. The last is a question that I think so many people (especially Americans, and especially women, to generalize a bit) really struggle with.
How do you know your body? How do you know what it can do? Do you feel that you are your body, that you are in your body, or that you are simply tagging along just behind or outside it? What relation does your body have to the vision you have of your life? of yourself?
There are other things I wish I could say about the film, but I don't want to give too much away. I recommend it highly, even if you don't like Clint Eastwood and even if you don't like boxing.