Vasconi 1Dawson Vasconi
Intro Comp: Writing as inquiry
26 September 2016
The Impossible Test
In the film industry, movies are made to make money. Movies are made to please the majority audience. Movies are made to show the stereotypical lively problems leading to a denouement. In the movie Million Dollar Baby, director Clint Eastwood captures the beauty of pleasing the majority audience and creating a film of highs and lows developing strong pathos from characters in the film and its viewers. As a result, it has won four Oscars and a lifetime gross earnings of around 217 million dollars, according to Boxofficemojo.com.
Million Dollar Baby passes both the Representation of Women Test or REP Test and Bechdel test with very strong grades in each. Shockingly, even with an influential female in the film, it did not receive an “A” grade. For this reason, I believe that the REP Test and Bechdel test are useless. It’s nearly impossible to please every category and score much higher than a “B” grade. It is simply a test that is too harsh on its critiques. I understand where the creators of the test are coming from, women and minority groups in films are not portrayed the right way. However, Million Dollar Baby, deserves to be recognized at its full potential of showing the strength any female can have if you are actively working at something.
The two main characters Frankie, played by Clint Eastwood, and Maggie, played by Hilary Swank, have many encounters during the beginning of the film. Frankie tries to brush off Maggie because she is a female trying to break into the boxing world, she doesn’t have any grit. However, Maggie is persistent as a mosquito. Every day, she hits the heavy bag. Every day she hacks away at the speed bag. Eventually, Frankie takes Maggie under his wing and they work together. Maggie utilizes Frankie as a friend, an advisor, and a savior.
The opening seen is male dominant, but the presence of women is there. Looking at the film as a critic of this test, it’s notable that female prevalence will be throughout the film. There is a scene in the film where Maggie is speaking to her mother and her sister. Her mother is speaking and her sister seems to be in the background of the scene. This is a female to female conversation. The scene topic is about welfare and cash benefits that the family hopes to receive from Maggie while she is hospital ridden, and eventually, spoiler alert, deceased. While the scene is short, it alone makes the movie Bechdel worthy. Two women, who have a conversation, and speak about something other than a man. This scene also earns points in the REP test. It signifies the dominance of a female protagonist and explains who other women in the film are. This rounds up the “Women” category on the test chart.
Furthermore, the “male” category does well too. The film from start to finish does not negatively portray a male nor does it glorify the male body. It’s boxing, you need to be fit to be in the sport. However, this is a stereotypical remark. In another scene between Frankie and Eddie, played by Morgan Freeman, the men converse about their feelings after Maggie’s passing. Frankie feels he killed her in the ring. Eddie helps with his grievance.
In order for a movie to pass and receive an “A” grade, they must receive an eleven or more on the scale. In Million Dollar Baby a ten was given. Regardless of passing or failing this movie does a phenomenal job at capturing the abilities of a women with a “can do” attitude and an all-around good film for both sexes.