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Word Count: 870
At first it is a fresh assured and evocative take on the classic boxing formula A tired old trainer Clint Eastwood as Frankie abandoned by the prospect he hoped to take to the title bout meets a scrappy but untrained would-be boxer He initially refuses to train the kid but is won over at first by the persistence then by the heart of the young fighter Theres another connection between them too Frankie has no family but a long-estranged daughter The boxers father is dead and the remaining family is all greedy selfish and lazy The bond between them helps to ease both of their losses One reason the relationship becomes so important to Frankie is that the boxer is a young woman Maggie Hillary Swank gives Frankie the chance to bring all that is best in him to a nurturing relationship with a young woman about the age of his daughter And Frankie gives Maggie the chance to be a champion The details of the boxing world and Frankies relationships with Maggie and with his long-time friend Eddie Morgan Freeman who also narrates are warm and richly observed Frankie and Eddie have the bickering banter of a long-time married couple and pros Eastwood and Freeman riff off each other like jazz players who have been jamming for a lifetime Eastwood is also marvelous with Swank a performance that is fuller fonder and funnier than we have seen from him since the Any Which Way But Loose days For the first half of the film the narration based on FX Tooles superb book and beautifully read by Freeman is so vivid we can smell sweat and adrenalin A kid with more heart than arm punches the air like he expected it to punch back Another fighter has a punch that could stop a tank but a heart the size of a split pea But then we hear the same stuff again We
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