“Million Dollar Baby,” a grim knockout of a boxing movie with multiple jolts, premieres at the Smith Opera House on May 26. “Million Dollar Baby” features a trio of heavyweight performances, from Clint Eastwood as grizzled LA fight manager Frankie Dunn, Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald, the no-hope boxer he warily takes under his wing, and Morgan Freeman as Scrap Dupris, a one-eyed ex-palooka who runs Frankie's gym and provides the movie's narration and moral spine.
With still-imposing biceps and a gruff voice, Eastwood's Frankie is so confrontational to a much younger priest during daily visits to church that the clearly exasperated cleric finally declares, “Don't come to Mass tomorrow.”
Maggie's a hick from the Ozarks — “She grew up knowing one thing: she was trash,” says Scrap's voice-over — and at 31, after a career waiting on tables, she has dispensed with all illusions except the one where she can make it big in the ring.
Frankie wants nothing to do with female boxers, but fate, a personal liking for the woman who calls him “boss” and some unrestrained prodding combine to change his mind.
The prodding comes from Freeman's Scrap, the one-eyed gym live-in who in his own fighting days used Frankie as a cut man. They have their own sad history, but they get along so well they can needle each other incessantly without hitting sore nerves.
Nominated for seven Academy Awards, “Million Dollar Baby,” won four including Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood), Best Actress (Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Freeman).
The Smith screens “Million Dollar Baby” at 7 p.m. May 26, 27 and 28, at 2 p.m. May 29 and at 7 p.m. May 31. Rated PG-13 for violence, some disturbing images, thematic material and language, this film has a running time of two hours, 12 minutes. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats are $3 on Thursday and $2 on Tuesdays. Call 315-781-LIVE or toll-free 866-355-LIVE for details or to reserve tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.