Sunday, February 13, 2005

Million Dollar Baby vs. House


Thanks to JT for forwarding this article to me. Chuck Coleson (BreakPoint, Prison Fellowship) got the same message out of the Million Dollar Baby film as I did...which is great comfort to me as I respect Coleson's opinions quite a bit. He also reviews a cable doctor show called "House" and gives it a thumbs-up.

For most of its two-and-a-quarter hours, Million Dollar Baby is a story about love and determination. Frankie and Maggie need each other because they both have something to prove, to themselves and to others. Under Frankie’s tutelage, Maggie rises through the ranks of women’s boxing.

Then tragedy strikes: An illegal blow causes Maggie to strike her head against the stool. She’s left as a quadriplegic. Frankie works just as hard at trying to help Maggie adjust to her new life out of the ring as he did helping her in the ring. But that’s not what she wants. She wants Frankie to help her end her life—which he does.

Why? As Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote, it’s not because she’s in pain or even because she’s depressed. Rather, it’s because “she can’t bear to be a has-been.” In the moral universe of the film, “anyone who comes to the end of their 15 minutes of fame is justified in seeking suicide.” The idea that, as with my friend, Joni Eareckson Tada, life goes on even after paralysis—and is even richer, perhaps—is alien to this universe.

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