Sunday, March 5

Beyond the Rings

I just watched the ending of Million Dollar Baby. I have not been this peeved since My Best Friend's Wedding. (After watching that movie, I vented not to but at my mom for three straight days. She became worried about my anger management issues after that experience.)

My conclusion about Million Dollar Baby: There was no winner. Every-frickn-body lost. That's right--LOST! And Morgan Freeman needs to stop giving bad advice. I'm glad I didn't watch March of the Penguins. And the preacher/priest/minister/dude in black from the church in the film needs to stop saying things like "Forget about Heaven and Hell." Who says that? I got where he was coming from--it was well intended. But the WRONG words. Akhira is everything (deja vu?*). The world does not revolve around our perceptions and personal understanding of it; There is a higher order, that of He Who is Independent. So how did this man think that Frankie (Clint Eastwood) would make the better decision by disregarding Heaven and Hell and focusing on his own understanding of his dunya? The fact that every action has consequences, realized or unrealized by the performer of the act, cannot be marginalized--let alone done away with altogether. Fallacious fallacious fallacious!

The worst part: No matter how much I vent about these movies, the ending will never be changed. Don't you hate that feeling of inevitable defeat? *sigh*


The film was very well done. Awesome actors (yes, Mr. Freeman as well). Poor ending, but awesome acting, character development, soundtrack, cinematography, etc.

I'm not about to delve into the film to tear it apart in the ways I'm prone to--only because I know it is beyond my capacity. But I would like to discuss a particular observation I made while watching it.

The relationship Frankie and Maggie build over the course of the story is beautiful. Frankie unhesitatingly takes her in as his daughter from the moment they meet; His struggle to train her is complicated by his fatherly affection and concern for her. I think this is an important point, because it would be easy to mistake his reluctance to train Maggie as a general hesitance to let her into the world she desires, assuming that it is that of boxing--which happens to be Frankie's domain. But both characters, prior to their meeting, are in search of that missing father-daughter relationship in their lives. The film's setting is not the boxing rings but the atmosphere before and after the fights. The juxtaposition between the fighting scenes and the scenes in Ira's Roadside Diner highlight my point. At the end of the day, we all seek a similar kind of feeling of fulfillment; that we have accomplished not something material, but that we have accomplished fulfilling our roles successfully.

And, if you haven't guessed already, this ties into Islam--fulfilling our roles as servants of Allah (SwT); as Muslims; building that single-most important relationship with Allah. That is where ultimate success lies.

Qur'an, 4: 13 (~translation by Yusuf Ali: Those are limits set by Allah: those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the supreme achievement.)

Qur'an, 33:71 (~translation by Yusuf Ali: That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest achievement.)

Correct me if I'm wrong.


*I stated this in the conclusion of my post, Assessment 1.


Nuri said...

I think he's fatherly with all his boxers... remember the first one, the black guy who changes before his big championship. I saw Syriana just a few hours ago... highly interesting

Samira said...

You're right--Clint Eastwood's character is seeking to fulfill the role of a father in general. However, the fact that Frankie wrote to his real daughter persistently, asking for her forgiveness, is a component of the film that screams to be noticed and taken into consideration. Based on this, I believe there is an emphasis on the particular relationship between father and daughter. I hope that makes sense.

But you're right--he does care sincerely for his boxers as a father would, and this has an effect on his relationship with Maggie.

And Syriana: I can't face the fact that I haven't seen it yet--I'm so lame. I'll try to see it as soon as I get a chance. Thanks for reminding me :)

Mariam said...

samira, i disagree with you on the not/liking of the ending. guess what? life sometimes sucks, and i'm proud of this movie for showing that. i thought it was artistically and wonderfully painful and sad.

it's just a movie, anyways :)

Samira said...

You've kind of failed to disagree with me. Notice the "HOWEVER" that splits my post into what I didn't like about the movie and what I did like. So I agree with you, for the most part.

And you're right; Life does suck, sometimes. But I think the movie would have been more interesting if it went out on a less ventured limb and showed, for example, that Frankie made Maggie live/work through her struggles--if he helped her get through the struggles of life that lie outside of the boxing ring and inside the soul. Maybe made her go to college like he was suggesting? It isn't just a matter of making the film more interesting for me, personally, but a matter of addressing deeper human struggles. Obviously I am biased about all of this. I can't help it. I have no respect for suicide--and I can honestly say this without feeling as though I might offend someone. Not to imply that you respect suicide, but perhaps you know where I'm going with this.

At the end of the day, it's still me asking the world [of entertainment, in this case] to tailor to my personal preferences--true. But there are struggles that films/media leave unaddressed. And this is sad. It's so much easier for us to just end a story with suicide, but it's challenging to try to explore other possibilities. I guess it's part of the very nature of suicide. Maybe. Anyway, I wrote about some of this in an older post from January 4th,Where Is My Bamboo Forest?

Nandita said...

I just read the previous post's comments.

lol. I cant stop laughing.
It DOES look schizo.

you are too kind my madame. I wasn't asleep, besides twins have this right to wake the other.

its like unwritten law. lol at the previous attempts to pronounce names upon further review.