Todd Malkin’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review contains spolers.
Million Dollar Baby is almost a "unicorn" of movie-making perfection from a technical standpoint (and that's largely why I keep watching it). I pretty much put it perfectly in my prior review, but there's more...
The characters are so rich, and the story so powerful, that it moves me every time. I watched the special features, and Eastwood struggled with whether to make it or not. He even tried to talk himself out of it based on problems with the script. (I'm sort of badly paraphrasing it all.) In the end, he couldn't change anything. If you read the screenplay, it's essentially note for note -- that's almost unheard of.
I wanted Rebecca to see the movie so she could dissect the script with me. Since we just watched Unforgiven, she pointed out just how much Eastwood had grown as a director. Even though 12 years had passed, it's still wildly impressive.
It's a rare movie that moves me to tears solely based on what I know is the inevitable conclusion of the characters. I welled up quite a few times in the first half hour. Every moment of Maggie's determination is uplifting and tragic. I can't help but feel the utmost admiration for her -- a movie character!
Despite throwing out these reviews, I always feel a little private about my love of this movie. It's because my friend is paraplegic, and he loathes Million Dollar Baby. (He's also a staunch Christian.) I respect him and his beliefs, but I honestly feel that the film presents an unanswerable question that deserves to be discussed. My friend and I have never discussed it, by the way. It's always been one of those things where you just take the beating and shut up when confronted with the other person's thoughts -- and doesn't that say something about this movie too? Eastwood's character views himself as damned either way, and he chooses the worst path in order to save his surrogate daughter. That's tragically beautiful, and possibly the most love you can show someone... and hopefully, just maybe, that's where we truly find God's grace.