... Spoiler Alert ...
Continue reading after you've seen the movie.
Million Dollar Baby starts off like a female version of Rocky. Maggie is an aspiring boxer, endowed with little besides a stubborn determination. She pester the unwilling coach Frankie to train her. Finally she has overcome his reluctance and eventually fight her way up to challenge the championship. Then the movie takes a sharp turn when an accident in the boxing ring has badly injured her. Rather than accepting life in her now paralyzed body, she requested to be relieved from the lesser existence.
To me the story of Maggie is a life affirming story.
For most of history, the nature decides who lives and who dies. If an injury does not kill you, the starvation will. Modern technology changed this and in many cases allow us to sustain life for as long as one is willing. Our culture tell us to delay death at all cost. Even the most diminished patient can now be sustained. So much that what is considered life should perhaps be called "not-dead". When life is reduced to mere not-dead, this is actually a desecration of life.
Maggie recognizes that there is vitality in a worthy life. She has the vitality once. But it is unfortunately now lost. By rejecting "not-dead" in her self-assured way, she honors the life she has lived. Paradoxically, this makes it a really life affirming story.
2011.11.26 comments -