Study Guide

Million Dollar Baby Boxing

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What if we told you that Million Dollar Baby is a boxing movie that isn't really about boxing?

Before you suggest we get our head examined, chew on this: The boxing in the movie is a metaphor for endurance, for the determination needed just to get out of bed in the morning, chow down on some Frosted Flakes, and face another day.

The fighting inside the ring symbolizes all of the fighting outside of the ring—especially for Frankie and Maggie. He has to struggle against the Ivan Drago -sized mountain of guilt he lugs around everywhere. She has to fight against…well, just about everything: her unsupportive family, poverty, sexism, ageism, and even Frankie himself, at least in the first act of the movie. Of course, after The Blue Bear's nasty sucker punch, Maggie has her toughest fight of all: to die with dignity.

Of course, Million Dollar Baby is also about non-metaphorical boxing. We know because we spent a bit too much money on boxing equipment on Amazon after we stopped crying…and before we learned to box.


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