Study Guide

Million Dollar Baby Family

Family

FR. HORVAK: Did you write your daughter?

FRANKIE: Every week.

FR. HORVAK: I have no idea why you come to church.

It's never made clear why Frankie's daughter won't speak to him. We're willing to bet it's something bigger than being forced to finish her peas, though.

BRITISH REF: Ten minutes, luv.

MAGGIE: Man says he loves me.

FRANKIE: Well, he's probably not the first one to say that.

MAGGIE: First since my daddy.

FRANKIE: Hmm.

MAGGIE: I win, you think he'll propose?

FRANKIE: You win, I'll propose.

Don't get it twisted: there's no romantic love between Frankie and Maggie. Here, Frankie's teasing Maggie, and encouraging her to kick some boxing butt. We also learn that after Maggie's dad died, nobody replaced him. Girl's gone a long time without a father figure—especially when you consider what a peach her mother is.

MAGGIE: I've got nobody but you, Frankie.

FRANKIE: Well, you've got me.

If you weren't already on the "Frankie as a Father Figure" train before this conversation in the car, which begins with Maggie telling Frankie about her biological father, then consider this your gigantic, glowing "Frankie + Maggie = Family" sign.

MAGGIE: You don't have to hang around all day.

FRANKIE: Well, I like it here. I don't mind. In fact, if you weren't here, I'd come here anyway to read my books.

Maybe he'd even read a couple in English! Here's some Million Dollar trivia for you, Shmooper: Frankie's beloved W.B. Yeats may have been an Irishman, but he didn't write his poems in Gaelic as the movie suggests.

MAGGIE: Momma, you take Mardell and JD and get home before I tell that lawyer there that you were so worried about your welfare you never signed those house papers like you were supposed to. So anytime I feel like it I can sell that house from under your fat, lazy, hillbilly ass. And if you ever come back, that's exactly what I'll do.

Maggie's biological family is the worst. Here, Maggie finally—finally!—has had enough and tells them to hit the bricks, permanently. In this extremely difficult time, her real family came through: Frankie. He's given her the self-respect and courage to throw their sorry butts out.

FRANKIE: Everything's going to be all right.

MAGGIE: I always hear your voice, boss.

Part of being a good parent is assuring your kid that everything's going to be okay even when it totally isn't, and part of being a good kid is convincing your parent that you believe them.

FRANKIE: But now, she wants to die. And I just want to keep her with me.

Frankie grapples with doing right by Maggie and keeping her alive against her wishes. Far cry from the grumpy old guy who didn't teach girls, huh?

SCRAP: I found you a fighter, and you made her the best fighter she could be.

FRANKIE: I killed her.

SCRAP: Don't say that. Maggie walked through that door with nothing but guts, no chance in the world of being what she needed to be. A year and a half later, she's fighting for the championship of the world. You did that. People die everyday, mopping floors, washing dishes. And you know what their last thought is? I never got my shot. Because of you, Maggie got her shot. If she dies today, you know what her last thought will be? "I think I did all right."

Frankie blames himself for what happened to Maggie big-time, so Scrap tries to show him how foolish that is. He points out the fact that Frankie set Maggie up for success and gave her everything she needed to achieve her dream of becoming a boxing champ. In other words, he didn't kill her; he loved her like a parent.

FRANKIE: "Mo cuishle" means my darling. My blood.

It's about time. Frankie takes forever to tell Maggie what "mo cuishle" means, but when he does, it's worth the wait. As far as he's concerned, she's his daughter. Maybe he called his own daughter that and it was hard for him to call anyone else by that term of endearment.

SCRAP: No matter where he is, I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was.

Here, it's revealed that Scrap, our narrator, has been telling this whole story to Katy, Frankie's estranged daughter. We have Frankie's immediate family helping him reach out to his far, far away family—wherever she is.

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