Million Dollar Baby

  • John Izod


MILLION DOLLAR BABY: BOXING GRIEF AS Ed Buscombe remarks in his review of Million Dollar Baby (USA, 2004) it, like most movies that feature boxing, does not make fighting its principal subject, but deploys it as a metaphor for life (2005: 67-8). In this sub-genre, themes such as courage, loyalty, comradeship, endurance, betrayal, blind anger and one form or another of corrupt behaviour (both in and out of the ring) commonly occur. At various times the main protagonists in Million Dollar Baby show most of the virtues and vices just listed. They provide, so to speak, the basic topography against which Million Dollar Baby is plotted. The film is distinctive, however, because while these moral issues are constantly in the background, it foregrounds two less familiar themes - firstly, the strange, counter-instinctive skills that the boxer must learn; and secondly, the repression and displacement of grief together with the necessity...