I had a chance recently to see Clint Eastwood’s controversial Oscar winner, Million Dollar Baby and decided to, once again, try the Q&A format I’ve used before. (And again it is ever faithful Joel who has provided the questions. Thank you, Joel!)
Here we go:
1. Was it artfully done?
Yes. There were, of course, minor flaws but overall; the story was compelling and surprising, the lighting was darkly beautiful, the actors were genuine, playing characters that win our hearts, the music was simple, sparse and unobtrusive and the film's emotional resonance was pure.
2. Was it cast well?
Yes, I can't imagine anyone else in these roles, Eastwood, Swank and Freeman gave performances that were sometimes funny and at other times heart wrenching but always authentic. They're just wonderful to watch.
3. Was the plot original and well thought out?
Here's where we arrive at the films minor flaws (which I would not have noticed except that everyone felt the need to dissect this best picture nominee and publish their dissecting for me to read); These two phrases ("original", "well thought out") are, in one respect, probably not the two best to describe the plot; because of some stereo-typical characters and minor improbabilities here and there. But let me once again emphises that these things pale in comparison to the films many strengths (listed above).
4. Was it technically well done (cinematographically, FX, etc.)?
Yes. Though the technical elements of the film never dazzle but it's a smaller film so there's no reason why they should.
5. Was the movie ethical?
I won't say very much here so as not to spoil the film, but I would say that yes, because of my interpretation of the film, I do believe it honors values such as integrity and endurance.
6. Was it deserving of the best picture Oscar it garnered at the Academy awards?
I didn''t see all of the films up for best picture this year so I couldn't say. However, I can say this: Though the movie was good, it would not probably not displace The Incredibles or Spiderman 2 on a list of my favorite movies of the year.
7. Was it redeeming?
If this means "Was it worth what I paid for it?" (in money, time etc.), then I'd say yes.
8. Was it worth seeing?
For diserning viewers, yes.
9. Is it worth seeing twice?
Because I knew the ending going in to the movie and so had some of the benefits of a second viewing I can say that yes, it is worth it, though some parts might be harder to watch the second time around. (Though I don't know if it's the kind of movie I'd go out and buy, for the same reason I haven't bought a copy of The Passion of the Christ.)
Here are a handfull of much better reviews:
J. Robert Park's,