Study Guide

Million Dollar Baby Perseverance

Perseverance

FRANKIE: I don't train girls.

MAGGIE: Maybe you should. People see me fight say I'm pretty tough.

FRANKIE: Girlie, tough ain't enough.

Maggie's dogged in her pursuit of Frankie as a trainer, and ol' Frankie's just as resolute to say "Um, no."

DANGER: And I challenge "The Motor City Cobra," Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns, to fight me for the Welterweight Championship of the whole world!

If boxing skills didn't matter, and all it took was dedication and heart to be the best, Danger would be the welterweight championship of the whole gosh darn universe.

FRANKIE: Don't call me boss, now. I'm not your boss, and don't you be calling me that.

MAGGIE: If I stop calling you Boss, will you train me?

FRANKIE: No.

MAGGIE: Then I might as well just keep calling you it!

When it comes to having Frankie in her corner, Maggie literally won't take "No" for an answer.

SCRAP: If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys, and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.

Sometimes, Scrap speaks pure poetry—like here, when he sums up the determination of dreamers.

MAGGIE: I'm 32, Mr. Dunn, and I'm here celebrating the fact that I spent another year scraping dishes and waitressing, which is what I been doing since 13, and, according to you, I'll be 37 before I can even throw a decent punch, which after working this speed bag for a month and getting nowhere, I now realize may be God's simple truth. Other truth is, my brother's in prison, my sister cheats on welfare by pretending one of her babies is still alive, my daddy's dead, and my mama weighs 312 pounds. If I was thinking straight, I'd go back home, find a used trailer, buy a deep fryer and some Oreos. Problem is, this is the only thing I ever felt good doing. If I'm too old for this, then I got nothing. That enough truth to suit you?

Maggie's pretty much the personification of perseverance.

FRANKIE: I'm going to get you out of here. These doctors around here don't know squat. Otherwise, why would they be living out here in the desert? As soon as you're able to be moved, we'll find someplace where they've actually studied medicine.

Let's be real: Maggie's prognosis is pretty grim, but that won't stop Frankie from trying everything in his power to help her, and getting in a salty dig at desert-dwelling docs while he's at it.

FR. HORVAK: You can't do it. You know that.

FRANKIE: I do, Father. You don't know how thick she is, how hard it was to train her. Other fighters would do exactly what you say to them, and she'd ask why this and why that and do it her own way anyway. How she fought for the title—it wasn't by anything—well, it wasn't by listening to me.

Here, Frankie's trying to explain Maggie's stubbornness to Fr. Horvak, and hoping that it will change the priest's mind about helping Maggie die. Spoiler alert: It doesn't.

DANGER: Anybody can lose one fight.

After that jerkbag Shawrelle beats Danger up, Danger disappears. But when he suddenly returns to the gym at the end of the film, he's ready to resume his training. Let's just hope he's decided to take on somebody other than Tommy Hearns.

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