Best Films of the 2000s: No. 3.

No. 3

Million Dollar Baby

Call this the Clint Eastwood representative in the Top Ten. If I expanded the list to 20, I might find room for four more of his films, but this is his best of the decade and thus the only one in the Top Ten.

I didn't know what to expect from Million Dollar Baby. At the time, I was just beginning to discover the greatness of Eastwood. I had loved the previous year's Mystic River, and I knew Baby had excellent reviews. But I still didn't know what I was in for.

Baby turned out to be the most enjoyable drama of the decade, filled with beautiful characters who are never perfect but always engaging. Eastwood is a flawless mix of tenderness and grumpiness as an aged boxing trainer and gym owner. Narrator Morgan Freeman plays the familiar role of wise and reliable friend. These two alone could have carried the movie; they are joy to watch, talking about anything from bleach to socks. As a young lady eager to learn boxing, Hilary Swank impressively meshes with these legends through her fierce determination. The story follows her boxing journey, and more importantly, the trio's various relationships, as they each deal with potent themes of loyalty, forgiveness, and love.

In the final act, Baby journeys to an unexpected moral marsh, one that could easily have overshadowed and swallowed up the preceding greatness. But Eastwood handles the situation delicately, and while a key decision may be overwhelmingly controversial on its own, it works within the film's context merely as a choice that was made.

Like much of Eastwood's directorial work, Baby possesses an elegant simplicity in every element from lighting to cinematography to music. The film plays like a visual symphony, with an engrossing assortment of crescendos and stillness. It's a ideal blend of character and story, guided confidently by the ever-steady hand of Clint Eastwood, who delivers yet another masterpiece.

Best Films of the 2000s
10. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
9. Memento (2000)
8. Traffic (2000)
7. The Incredibles (2004)
6. Ocean's Eleven (2001)
5. The Dark knight (2001)
4. Cast Away (2000)
3. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
2. Coming soon...

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