Written by Old Bluffer 6th Apr 2007
Settling down to watch an Oscar winning film about boxing seemed a good idea at the time, until approximately two thirds of the way through when the fighting gave way to an episode of E.R.
Why wasn't this clearly marked on the DVD case?! How much would it have cost them to write "Warning! This film contains a lengthy and harrowing ending guaranteed to leave you traumatised and depressed."
Seriously, this is a quality piece of film making, with a wonderfully talented cast.
Hilary Swank plays an enormously likeable thirty-something trailer park hick whose only passion in life is her dream of becoming a successful boxer. To achieve this, she tries to enlist the help of expert septagenerian trainer, Frankie Dunn.
It may sound like a cheesy remake of Karate Kid III, but with soothing narrative by Morgan Freeman; Clint Eastwood at his cantankerous best and a witty, engaging script, you will be captivated from the start.
Until Maggie gets her neck broken in her big title fight that is, at which point the mood of your evening is going to take a sharp turn for the worse.
Maggie awakes in hospital, and we soon learn that she is completely paralysed from the neck down, and will be on a respirator for the rest of her life.
These are happy days compared to what follows however, as we are taken on an uncomfortable voyage of contaminated bed sores, amputated limbs and interminable scenes of Maggie still managing to remain upbeat and proud of her boxing achievements.
Eventually, she asks her old trainer to kill her before her memories start to rob her of her past glories, but he refuses (and then revisits a less interesting religious subplot by seeking advice from a Useless Priest).
Maggie is a fighter though, so she repeatedly tries to commit suicide by chewing off her own tongue and eventually he relents. He tenderly explains that he will disconnect her respirator and then give her a shot to ensure she never wakes up. He then reveals that the Gaellic fighting name he gave her and which she never knew the meaning of meant "my darling".
A single tear of gratitude and love trickles down her cheek as she dies, and any females watching the film will suddenly realise that they've used an entire box of tissues. The men on the other hand will be manfully blinking their own excess "eye moisture" away and praying for the film to end.
It should hopefully be clear that I'm not denying this is a quality movie, but the long, drawn out depressive ending isn't exactly entertaining viewing.
In summary then, this is an ideal "couples" flick, preferably with a whole group of friends. The men should stick around until Maggie wins the British Championship and then make their excuses and escape to the pub, leaving the women behind to have an enjoyable Group Weep.