Re: Million dollar baby, etc.


Huh. Good point. I think you're right about the active/passive thing causing problems with the audience. Everyone would immediately think "Kevorkian," and the story would be lost. But I disagree (weakly and preliminarily) about the inability to express one's wish: the drama is much more compelling if it's about the need to sufficiently understand and care about someone else such that one can make a life or death decision on her behalf. And the drama would result precisely from a lack of a clear directive; the Eastwood character would have to read the same clues of character that we had seen ourselves. It wouldn't just be a hard thing to do, but he could be wrong in a way that's different and more interesting than being wrong about his Church's dogma.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-27-05 11:44 PM
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Here's where I have to do more reading. In the absence of some kind of documentation (medical power of attorney, advance directives) I don't know that Eastwood's character would have the (legal) power to make that decision, let alone the required knowledge of Swank's wishes-- if there are any.

To make matters worse, even if she had thought about the possibility, it's not clear that her preferences are that meaningful, given that she doesn't know what it's like to live as a quadraplegic. For example, many people's perceptions of their well-being drop and then rebound after such an accident: they find they can adjust to certain things they would have expected to find intolerable, and so on. "No one wants to die senile, but, once senile, no one wants to die" as the saying goes. So it's hard to know how seriously we ought to take such uninformed statements of preference.

Also I should have added that (a) nothing I said bears on the moral status of Swank's choice; (b) I don't know what the Church's position on this is. I think they're ok with cessation of treatment and terminal sedation and all that, but I'd need to check. They might condemn the Swank choice but condone the Eastwood choice. Or something.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-27-05 11:57 PM
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The film is well worth seeing. Not a great first date movie perhaps ... I think FL is right, but this is putting too much into the Michael Medved interpretation of the film, which is about moral choices, but not that one in particular. It's much more about how you treat people you care about, and whether it's worth pushing on after the best days are gone. Million Dollar Baby really no more a discussion on euthanasia than the Tellytubby who carried a handbag was a campainger for gay rights for toddlers.

Posted by: Backword Dave | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 2:19 AM
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What would have been really cool is if they had gotten Dworkin to do a cameo. There just aren't enough philosophers in film.

Posted by: Chris | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 5:35 AM
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In the original screenplay, Clint runs her over with a trolley

Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 7:33 AM
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To save Riddick Bowe and Buster Douglas.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 7:34 AM
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DAMMIT. I was going to make a trolley problem joke.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 8:40 AM
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Your in joke repect allotment for this post has already been maxed out by the mention of Ted DiBiase. Do you think Morgan Freeman would have won the Oscar for playing Virgil?

Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 10:16 AM
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Actually, that role sounds like it might fit. At least if the movie started late in Virgil's career, so Freeman can play another wizened black man dispensing nuggets of wisdom to naive whitey (played by Curt Hennig).

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-28-05 10:29 AM
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