Million Dollar Baby
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Million Dollar Baby can be found here.

More than anything in life, Mary Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a 31-year-old waitress from a poor, dysfunctional family in Missouri, wants to be a boxer. With no training and little money but a lot of determination, she hits upon aging trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to show her the ropes. At first, Frankie is unwilling ("I don't train girls"), but Maggie persists until Frankie agrees to show her a few tips and finally consents to be her trainer. In doing so, Frankie (who has been estranged from his own daughter) and Maggie (whose father died when she was young) begin to fill voids in each others' lives. Aided by his best friend, one-eyed ex-boxer Eddie "Scrap-iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman) (who also narrates the story), Frankie lifts Maggie from a scrapper to where she is ready to take on the World Boxing Association (WBA) women's welterweight champion, Billie "The Blue Bear" (Lucia Rijker), an East German with a reputation as a dirty fighter.

Million Dollar Baby is based on various short stories entitled, Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner written by F.X. Toole, the pen name of boxing trainer Jerry Boyd [1930-2002]. The screenplay was written by Paul Haggis. Million Dollar Baby won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.

Some viewers conclude that Frankie, being a boxer, abused his daughter physically, but there is no specific reason given in the film. It is left ambiguous, leaving it up to each viewer to decide why a daughter would estrange herself from her father and return his letters unread for 20 years.

"C1" and "C2" refer to respectively the first and second (of seven) cervical vertebrae comprising the spinal column (backbone) through which the spinal cord passes. The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull and is followed by 12 thoracic vertebrae, five lumbar vertebrae, five sacral vertebrae, and the coccyx (tailbone). (See diagram.) Nerves extending from the spinal column control many of the bodily functions, such as head and neck control, arm and leg control, and many vital organs, such as the diaphragm, bladder, etc. A break in the C1 or C2 area can leave a person quadriplegic and unable to breathe on their own.

Near the end of the movie, Frankie finally tells Maggie that Mo chisle (pronounced "mo cush-lah") translates from the Irish Gaelic as "My darling, my blood." It's a term of endearment and literally means "my pulse".

Maggie begins to develop bed sores on her arms and legs. When the doctors amputate one of her legs, she asks Frankie to do for her what her daddy did for her dog Axel. Frankie refuses, so she bites off her own tongue and nearly bleeds to death before the doctors can get it sewed up. After speaking with Father Jorvak (Brían F. O'Byrne), with Scrap, and with his own conscience, Frankie sneaks into the hospital late at night, unhitches Maggie's respirator, and euthanizes her with a large injection of adrenalin into her IV. It is then revealed that the story, which has been narrated by Scrap since the beginning, is actually a letter to Frankie's daughter. He ends the letter with the following:

I went back to the gym and waited, figuring he'd turn up sooner or later [shots of Scrap sitting alone at the gym] and that's when a ghost came through the door [shot of Danger (Jay Baruchel) returning to the gym]. Frankie never came back at all. Frankie didn't leave a note and nobody knew where he went. I'd hope he'd gone to find you and ask you one more time to forgive him, but maybe he didn't have anything left in his heart. I just hope he went someplace where he could find a little peace, a place set in the cedars and oak trees, somewhere between nowhere and goodbye [shot of Ida's Diner], but that's probably wishful thinking. No matter where he is, I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was.
In the final scene, the camera pans through the window of Ida's diner, showing Frankie seated at the counter, possibly eating a piece of homemade lemon meringue pie.

No one knows, not even Scrap. There is the strong suggestion that Frankie may have made good on his idea of buying Ida's Roadside Diner and retiring there. Other possibilities proffered are that he (1) was arrested and sent to jail, (2) packed up and disappeared, leaving no trail, or (3) committed suicide using the second syringe in his bag.


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