a serious heart condition. We see how much Mickey means to Rocky
when he loses to a boxer he could have easily beaten if his trainer had
been in his corner. Instead, the boxer was hopeless in the ring,
suggesting that the two are interdependent. They need each other
because the emotional connection the two men share is like nothing
either had ever experienced previously. Their connection is like that of
a father and son; they love each other, and Mickey’s final words to
Rocky are, “I love you, kid.”
Boxers seem to be connected to little except the sport. It’s not
until the trainer comes onto the scene that there is something else to
grab onto for support. The trainer becomes part of the boxer and
sometimes almost lives his life through the boxer. He makes the boxer
perform how he wishes he had been able to in the ring. Million Dollar
Baby (2004) is a different style of boxing movie. Frankie the trainer,
played by Clint Eastwood (who also directs), is almost the main
character while Maggie the boxer (Hilary Swank) takes a backseat role.
The film focuses directly on their relationship with no distractions. She
has nothing before they meet and neither does he, which changes the
dramatic stakes and makes for all the more interesting entertainment.
This unconventional story follows Frankie, who is estranged from his
daughter, which in turn leads him to becoming the Maggie’s trainer. He
feels he owes it to himself to do it because he’s getting old and has been
very unproductive in recent years. Frankie’s coaching ability is minimal
in terms of boxing lessons, but his life lessons for Maggie are
exceptional. The movie focuses less on boxing and more on their
uncommon father-daughter type of relationship.
This is particularly evident at the end of the movie when
Maggie, who is paralyzed after a brutal fight, asks Frankie to help her
die. We see the connection between them as unlike any other between
a trainer and boxer. She taught him that age, sex, and ability is not a
deciding constraint on what is possible for an individual to do in life.
They both learned eternal life lessons from one another about
possibility and the power of the human spirit. Links between boxing
and life abound, and I think metaphorically boxing is life to both of
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