Million Dollar Baby: A complete disappointed (morally disappointing)

A few months ago, I finally got a chance to see A Million Dollar Baby. I wanted to see what the hype was about. I had the say the presentation of the movie was good up until when Frankie commits euthansia on Maggie. Maggie suffer from an injury she got from a fight. It paralyzed her.

Eventually, Maggie confides to Dunn that she has “seen it all” and asks to be relieved of suffering. Dunn flat out refuses and begins to question the morality of it all, even speaking with a priest who objects (the same priest who didn’t believe that Dunn was sending letters to his daughter). She attempts suicide by biting her tongue multiple times in an attempt to bleed to death. Hospital staff subdue her attempts, causing Dunn to realize that her suffering should last no more. Dunn ultimately commits euthanasia by injecting her with an overdose of adrenaline.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Baby

I don’t know what the Hollywood is trying to do, but distorting the truth and trying to make the culture of death (in this case euthanasia) is sicking.

I don’t know how many of you saw the film, but I became disgusted by it. Euthanasia my friend is morally evil. A grave sin. I don’t care how bad I am suffering from an illness, but no one has the right to take my life. Only God can. I believe the character of Clint Eastwood has committed murder. Playing the sympathic theme by Hollywood has become too sicking to my stomach.

I don’t even know why this movie got a Academy Award. Any film that promotes Mercy Killing shouldn’t be rewarded.:mad:

I feel the same. Frankie committed murder. But then, Clint Eastwood played the they-deserve-to-die Dirty Harry some years ago. I am against revenge killing and mercy killing. It appears that Hollywood is promoting immoral choices to people when they make films like this.

After nearly a decade working in health care, I have seen the dying and have some personal knowledge of how difficult a situation like this can be. May God’s will be done.

God bless,
Ed

I didn’t care for the ending either. The movie was based on a novel, so the film makers aren’t to blame. They merely followed what the author wrote,

A better idea would have been not to mke the movie in the first place.

First of all, a movie can be immoral and still a great movie artistically. It is downright foolish to criticize a secular organization for giving an award (the Oscar) based on artistic quality to a movie with which you disagree on religious grounds. This is just another form of political correctness.

In the second place, it’s not at all clear to me that the movie is taking some kind of stance on euthanasia. To me, the movie does anything but glorify it–it shows the decision essentially destroying Frankie. As I see it, you are criticizing a movie for addressing a tough moral issue, or at least for not doing so with a clear Catholic message. This is highly unfair. Again, the moviemakers are presumably not Catholics and not obligated to present things from a Catholic perspective. But they are to be commended for presenting this disturbing story as disturbing and not giving easy answers.

Movies and novels often deal with tormented people making morally flawed choices. That just comes with the territory. These things happen in real life, and fiction needs to deal with them. People hurt. It’s as simple as that. You are implying that a movie can’t show people hurting unless they deal with their pain in a morally correct manner, or unless the movie hammers the audience over the head with the evil of what the characters have done. (As I said, it seems to me that Charlie’s decision to administer euthanasia is presented as evil, though perhaps I read it that way because that’s what I believe–the point is that the movie can be read that way.)

Edwin

I write fiction and it doesn’t “need” to explore anything. In our increasingly homogenized cultural landscape, a McDonald’s in Maryland would have the same thing as one in Washington State; same look, same product.

If you look across the past 40 years, you will hear commentators say the following things: “The 1960s, marked by the Vietnam War, Hippies and the Sexual Revolution.” “The 1970s, marked by Watergate, bell bottoms and platform shoes.” History has become a product and the media sells it like one.

A small group, usually referred to as the Intelligensia or Beautiful People or Critics, decide what aspects of our culture will be mass marketed. Then, across all media platforms, their will is followed.

The following things are in heavy rotation, not because Christians want them:

Atheism (see the New Atheism article in Wired magazine)

Gay Marriage (a must)

Embryonic Stem Cell research

Right to Die (just do a google search for the latest American state to capitulate)

Anti-Christian commentary (see the thread about Kathy Griffin or watch Bill Maher on TV)

Like it or not, movies and TV programs are another form of advertising and promotion. Patriotic films were made during World War 2, and films that show difficult things like choosing euthenasia are difficult for Christians who have moral guidelines to follow. This is a Catholic forum so I don’t see how anyone can be surprised about negative reactions.

There are a lot of stories to tell, but I won’t be writing any that put the bad guys or immoral behavior in a good light. There’s too much of that out there already.

God bless,
Ed

<<<< Movies and novels often deal with tormented people making morally flawed choices. That just comes with the territory. These things happen in real life, and fiction needs to deal with them. People hurt. It’s as simple as that. You are implying that a movie can’t show people hurting unless they deal with their pain in a morally correct manner, or unless the movie hammers the audience over the head with the evil of what the characters have done. (As I said, it seems to me that Charlie’s decision to administer euthanasia is presented as evil, though perhaps I read it that way because that’s what I believe–the point is that the movie can be read that way.) >>>>

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As a writer, I feel it’s important to reflect society, even it’s ills and it’s pain. However, there’s a difference between glorifying it and just presenting it to the reader to decide. I have a few moral boundries in my writing, but for the most part I try to present things neutrally or with a slightly Christian bent to it.

And now I’m going over to Moral Theology to start a thread about what morality a writer should have. :slight_smile:

First of all, a movie can be immoral and still a great movie artistically. It is downright foolish to criticize a secular organization for giving an award (the Oscar) based on artistic quality to a movie with which you disagree on religious grounds. This is just another form of political correctness.

I have to disagree with you, Contarini; the purpose of man’s artisitic gifts is to glorify god and uplift man’s noblest qualities, not drag them through the gutter.

A **just intolerance **against sin and injustice is praiseworthy.

So great a patron of art and architecture is the Church that a saying became current: “There is no art outside the Catholic Church.”

This is not “political correctness.” The Catholic Church is not solely a social interest / political / advocacy organization. This is the view of the Truth of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church that he founded. The Catholic Church teaches Truth; you may or may not believe that.

From this perspective, grounded on Catholic Truth and Teaching, the dominos of decadent Hollywood and New York and L.A. produced movies and television programs begin to fall.

I don’t understand why you want Catholic cultural critics to close their mouths and be silent.

Christian people have the right, as free people, under the 1st Amendment to express there criticism of society, including politics, art, and culture, if they choose to do so.

Anyways, about the film; it wasn’t paying too much attention to it when it was on recently a few months ago.

But from what I saw (I wasn’t paying full attention), I don’t think Clint committed murder based on what I know about Catholic teaching in this area, but the film, in dealing with this important moral issue, doesn’t point out the very specific facts that only apply to Frankie’s situation.

As a result, I think the majority of people leaving the theater were persuaded that ANY case involving euthanasia types situations where there is an incapacitated individual, conscious or not conscious, the individual or their family should be able to choose whether of not the person should die, and not some outside authority (the hospital, or the Catholic Church).

The character of the Priest could have been used to explain all this; the people who write the scripts are very intelligent people.

But it wasn’t explained.

It seemed that the female character, Frankie, was on an “iron lung” which was her main form of respiration.

My understanding is that if such is the case, (now, don’t quote me on this!!), you can end the artificial means of respiration morally, since it is artificial and not natural.

With Ms. Schiavo, who was only in a coma, we are obliged as civilized human beings to give her food and water, which are natural and required by nature for the body to function.

Ms. Schiavo was not on an iron lung; she was breathing naturally. Ms. Schiavo’s body was working as nature and God created it, and because she committed no crime, destroying her life was an act of murder, giving sanction by the state of Florida.

But the gutter is going to be there. Who is going to address the suffering of the people in the gutter, while artists are getting all starry-eyed about our “noblest qualities”? Do you want a Divine Comedy with no Inferno? Do you want your Michelangelo to be all David and no Last Judgment?

Don’t you think Dostoyevsky glorified God by his novels?

This is not “political correctness.”

In the context of our society, yes it is. If you are seriously maintaining that Catholicism should be the state Church and all other points of view should be banned, then I can respect that (although I would disagree with it). But in our society it is accepted that different points of view can be expressed. So the only way to shut down opposing points of view is to claim to be offended by them–hence my reference to political correctness.

I don’t understand why you want Catholic cultural critics to close their mouths and be silent.

I don’t. I want them to speak intelligently with respect for the difference between art and propaganda (Flannery O’Connor’s essays called Mystery and Manners are a good place to start), and with awareness of the fact that a work of art that does not entirely conform to Catholic teaching can still be profound and valuable.

If you choose to take a different approach, of course you have the right to speak–but I have the right to disagree.

Your equation of disagreement with an attempt to “silence” you is another example of political correctness. I have the right to try to persuade you to change your mind–that is not trying to “shut you up” except with the legitimate weapons of reason.

Clint committed murder based on what I know about Catholic teaching in this area, but the film, in dealing with this important moral issue, doesn’t point out the very specific facts that only apply to Frankie’s situation.

As a result, I think the majority of people leaving the theater were persuaded that ANY case involving euthanasia types situations where there is an incapacitated individual, conscious or not conscious, the individual or their family should be able to choose whether of not the person should die, and not some outside authority (the hospital, or the Catholic Church).

On what do you base that opinion? And what do you think the people believed going into the movie? And if you agree that art and propaganda are different, why is this the primary consideration?

The question to ask about a work of imagination is: did this work illuminate some aspect of reality? Did it help us understand (on an imaginative, intuitive level) our lives as human beings? I think this movie did. It presented certain characters and their decisions, and confronted us with them in a powerful way. What lessons we draw from the movie are going to depend primarily on our broader philosophical and theological framework. If we think that compassion is an absolute good and that the only evil is for a person to suffer, then we are going to think Frankie did the right thing. But that’s not the movie’s fault–if anything, I think the movie challenges that assumption quite surprisingly, by indicating that Frankie has done something quite disastrous to his soul by helping Maggie kill herself. But perhaps I only conclude this because of my overarching presuppositions going into the movie.

Edwin

As a Christian, and as a writer who knows he has been given a gift from God, this is my guide:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Good will battle evil until Christ returns and the inventions of men are temporary. What I put into my head matters.

God bless,
Ed

But the gutter is going to be there. Who is going to address the suffering of the people in the gutter, while artists are getting all starry-eyed about our “noblest qualities”? Do you want a Divine Comedy with no Inferno? Do you want your Michelangelo to be all David and no Last Judgment?

Dante and Michelangelo were not glorifying or giving their stamp of approval to the sin the was punished by God’s justice in the Inferno or The Last Judgement.

The film “Million Dollar Baby” may be a work of art because it is a film, but most meaningful artwork has a message that it is trying to convey to its audience.

“Million Dollar Baby,” took millions of dollars in bucks to produce; usually when one is spending millions of bucks, they are doing so for a purpose.

The purpose of this film (which I saw some of), it seemed to me, (ok, I didn’t really watch it all, and I wouldn’t spend good money to rent this and watch it), was to evoke sympathy for Frankie and his decision to end Maggie’s life, even though she was being kept alive on an artificial respirator, and even though it conflicted (at least according to the film’s theology, which, as I mentioned above, is, as far as I know, not the actual Catholic teaching on the subject) with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the moral advice of his parish priest.

More generally, I think the movie was trying to show, through Frankie’s and Maggie’s example, that people who commit acts of euthanasia or who are incapacitated and want to do end their lives, do so with the best of human intentions.

“Million Dollar Baby” does a lot that’s wrong; it doesn’t show the Truth about this moral issue; it depicts a devout Catholic man who goes to Mass everyday blatantly rejecting his Church’s teaching, going against the moral advice of his Priest; it doesn’t get the Catholic Church’s teaching on this moral issue correct (I’ll have to look it up sometime); the Catholic Church, despite the impression of the movie, in certain circumstances, and to my not so expert knowledge (so don’t act on this advice), does allow its members to end their lives if the medical treatment that is used to prolong the life involves some sort of artificial, and not natural, means (like an artificial respirator, for example).

Frankie’s ignoring of his Priest’s and the Church’s moral advice is scandalous; the creation of sympathy for murdering the weak, infirm, and terminally sick, without seriously giving an in depth discussion of the issue, is scandalous

Bad shows, whether on the stage or the screen corrupt more subtly than immoral conversation, because what one sees leaves a stronger impression. Moreover, bad shows represent evil in attractive garb.

(My Catholic Faith: A Manual of Religion, Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D.,1958)

This movie, without having discussed the moral issue, will cause a lot of confusion in peoples’ minds as to what they should do in a similar situation; and seeing the actor Clint Eastwood, the glamorous Hollywood star, disregarding his Spiritual Director and end Maggie’s life, they may be more inclined to follow his example than the teaching of Christ in their own lives.

I base this conclusion on common sense and as a reasonable person; like any work of art, you have to read between the lines, in order to understand the point the artist is trying to make, even in a bad work of art. Art and films are not science.

No one here has said the Catholicism should be the state religion and that all contrary opinions should be banned (some one suggested the film shouldn’t in good taste have been made, but they didn’t say the producers shouldn’t legally be able to make the film).

We’re just criticizing the film from a Catholic Christian perspective, grounded on Catholic Truth.

You said:

It is downright foolish to criticize a secular organization for giving an award (the Oscar) based on artistic quality to a movie with which you disagree on religious grounds. This is just another form of political correctness.

If we want to criticize the Academy Awards that’s is our freedom to do so. If we want to express our opinion to an important cultural organization that is the lynchpin of the film industry , especially with a film that depicts in a positive manner a member of the Catholic Church disobeying the moral teaching of his Church on an important moral issue of our time, I don’t see why that is “downright foolish” or a form of “political correctness” (whatever that means; some words someone jumbled together).

The people who made this movie have the right to make it and can spend their money the way they please; but the movie undermines the moral authority and true teaching of the Catholic Church by its depiction of Frankie and Maggie; and that needs to be pointed out; and that is why this film is offensive to many Catholics.

Let’s just cut to the chase. Million Dollar Baby was just a plain stupid movie. No patient in her condition would’ve been left to languish on life support like that against her will. A patient has the right to refuse exceptional means of continuing life.

Since the movie was ostensibly a boxing movie but was really a shallow and insipid study of a “hard issue,” it seems appropriate to compare it to a deliberate hit below the belt.

– Mark L. Chance.

You have yet to show that the movie puts its stamp of approval on anything. I don’t see much approval in the ending of the movie.

The purpose of this film (which I saw some of), it seemed to me, (ok, I didn’t really watch it all, and I wouldn’t spend good money to rent this and watch it), was to evoke sympathy for Frankie and his decision to end Maggie’s life, even though she was being kept alive on an artificial respirator, and even though it conflicted (at least according to the film’s theology, which, as I mentioned above, is, as far as I know, not the actual Catholic teaching on the subject) with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the moral advice of his parish priest.

Sure. But evoking sympathy is not the same thing as saying it’s right. That is why I found the movie impressive–it doesn’t try to justify the deed. I can’t say I’m immensely fond of it–too dark and gritty–but it won my respect precisely by not being propaganda. And dark and gritty have a place in a balanced aesthetic diet–they just shouldn’t dominate.

it depicts a devout Catholic man who goes to Mass everyday blatantly rejecting his Church’s teaching, going against the moral advice of his Priest;

Are you suggesting that this doesn’t happen in real life, or that even if it does movies shouldn’t show it so as not to give people ideas?

Frankie’s ignoring of his Priest’s and the Church’s moral advice is scandalous;

Look, if you think you can’t portray bad Catholics in fiction, you’d have to wipe out most of the Catholic fiction produced in history.

the creation of sympathy for murdering the weak, infirm, and terminally sick, without seriously giving an in depth discussion of the issue, is scandalous

You keep assuming that the movie is supposed to be propaganda. I don’t think it is.

No one here has said the Catholicism should be the state religion and that all contrary opinions should be banned (some one suggested the film shouldn’t in good taste have been made, but they didn’t say the producers shouldn’t legally be able to make the film).

Fair enough. And similarly, I’m not denying people’s right to express any opinions they choose. I’m just arguing that the criticisms are a bit narrow and misguided.

If we want to criticize the Academy Awards that’s is our freedom to do so. If we want to express our opinion to an important cultural organization that is the lynchpin of the film industry , especially with a film that depicts in a positive manner a member of the Catholic Church disobeying the moral teaching of his Church on an important moral issue of our time, I don’t see why that is “downright foolish” or a form of “political correctness” (whatever that means; some words someone jumbled together).

We all know that the movie industry is driven by money more than anything else. Protesting a movie is a form of implicit financial pressure. I think it is unwise to do this except when the movie is genuinely a work of propaganda. The DaVinci Code, for instance, was a work of trash built on lies from beginning to end (I’m speaking of the book–I didn’t go to see the movie precisely because I didn’t want to support it). It’s fair for Catholics (and other Christians) to say, “We are not going to go to see such a movie, and we lose respect for those who produce it and condone it.” I am saying that this approach should not be overused–it should not be trotted out any time a movie questions or possibly contradicts Catholic teaching on some point. There is a clear difference (though not without fuzzy borders) between controversial, thought-provoking art/entertainment and offensive, propagandistic trash. I am expressing the opinion that MMB is in the former category rather than the latter.

Edwin

Quite true. Flannery O’ Connor comes to mind here.
Some people strain the gnat and swallow the cammel.

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